South Africas efforts to attract much-needed investment continue to bear fruit even at a time when the world has been turned on its head due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The countrys premier two-day Investment Conference recently wrapped up in a time when the world continues to pick itself up amidst the pandemic that has changed life as we know it.
Despite the global turmoil caused by the pandemic, the appetite for investing in Africas southernmost country was not dampened.
The conference which was held partly virtually on its first day culminated with a total 50 companies pledging R 109.6 billion.
Speaking on the last day of the conference, President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged that the world is still very much in the throes of a devastating pandemic that has thrown global markets into disarray.
Tough decisions have had to be made on investments, on expansion and on entry into new markets. It is therefore significant that you have all come here both in person and virtually to show that this is a country you believe in and want to see succeed, said President Ramaphosa at the conference held under strict COVID-19 protocols in Sandton, Johannesburg.
This years conference brings the total amount of investment pledges to R773.6 billion worth of investments in the last three years. In addition, with this total amount, South Africa has now reached 64% of its total target of R1.2 trillion.
One could have been forgiven for thinking that the country would not host the conference this year, given the challenges brought on by the Coronavirus which has not only been responsible for the loss of lives but also the decline of economies around the world.
With this years conference having taken place in an extremely subdued economic climate, President Ramaphosa said securing investment commitments of over R100 billion is a remarkable achievement.
This shows progress the country has made since the President in 2018, embarked on a R1.2 trillion at the time, investment drive to stimulate sustainable, equitable and inclusive growth as the foundation for socio-economic transformation.
Some of the investment commitments made this year, are in sectors that have been hard-hit by the pandemic, especially the tourism and hospitality industries. These said the President, will go a long way in their recovery.
The investments are spread across various sectors along the length and breadth of the country. For example in Gauteng, Anglo African Metal committed to invest R280 million in the beneficiation of Titanium. Bradley Aviation pledged R244 million in the aeronautical sector in Gauteng.
On company expansions, Fuchs committed R260 million to expand its lubricants operations, while Procter and Gamble pledged R260 million towards the expansion of their diaper plant.
Meanwhile, Scaw will be investing a further R250 million to upgrade their hot rolling mill and steel-making capacity in Gauteng. SA Steel Mills pledged R1.5 billion to establish a steel manufacturing plant in the province.
In addition, Supavut committed its support to the automotive components sector in the Tshwane Special Economic Zone with a pledge of R150 million while Sew Eurodrive pledged R200 million in the automation sector in Gauteng.
In the Northern Cape, Afrimat committed R300 million worth of investment in the iron ore sector.
In Limpopo, Ivanhoe mines is investing a further R730 million in the Platreef project and in the Eastern Cape, Lactalis committed to invest R100 million in a milk powder production plant.
Still in the Eastern Cape, Giant Flag Consortium pledged R184 million in an eco-tourism development.
South Africa, through the conference has reached the halfway mark in the drive to seek R1.2 trillion in investment over five years, with approximately R664 billion in investments commitments from local and international investors.
Not taking the foot off the pedal, South Africa is continuing with the implementation of shovel-ready investments with President Ramaphosa saying this conference aimed to ensure the implementation of commitments made at previous conferences.
We want to see this R664 billion translated into new factories, production lines, mining operations, retail outlets and infrastructure. We want to see it translated into new jobs, new skills and new opportunities, he said.
This as government is closely tracking the implementation of the 102 projects announced at the last two conferences. To date, R172 billion of the committed amount has been spent on projects.
The sector that has seen the greatest flow of investment from these commitments is mining and mineral beneficiation, with just over R63.6 billion having been spent to date.
Meanwhile the flow of investment into the ICT sector currently stand