Trudi Makhaya is spear­head­ing an in­vest­ment drive aimed at at­tract­ing $100 bil­lion in new in­vest­ment to SA’s econ­omy

poised to kick­start SA’s eco­nomic growth

Public Sector Manager - - CONTENTS -

Most peo­ple in a new job work their fin­gers to the bone to make a good im­pres­sion on their em­ployer. For many peo­ple, this pres­sure would be even more over­whelm­ing if their new boss was the pres­i­dent of the coun­try.

But Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s newly ap­pointed eco­nomic ad­vi­sor Trudi Makhaya is not over­whelmed by the stature of her boss.

She said that she has worked for many bosses, all with dif­fer­ent lead­er­ship styles, but in her opin­ion, Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa ticks all the boxes when it comes to good lead­er­ship qual­i­ties.“He is open, gives good feed­back and is ac­ces­si­ble. So it’s been good,” said Makhaya.

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa has en­trusted Makhaya with spear­head­ing an in­vest­ment drive aimed

at at­tract­ing $100 bil­lion in new for­eign in­vest­ment to South Africa’s econ­omy. She leads a team con­sist­ing of for­mer Fi­nance Min­is­ter Trevor Manuel; for­mer Deputy Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mce­bisi Jonas; the executive chair­per­son of Afropulse Group, Phumzile Lan­geni; and for­mer Stan­dard Bank CEO Jacko Ma­ree.

But it is her role as the Pres­i­dent’s eco­nomic ad­vi­sor that has put the spot­light firmly on Makhaya, a lead­ing econ­o­mist, writer and en­tre­pre­neur.

She de­scribed her re­la­tion­ship with South Africa’s first ci­ti­zen as one that’s warm and open.

“We have had to hit the ground run­ning in terms of the ini­tia­tives we’ve been in­volved in but it’s been good so far. He’s a good boss,” she told PSM in an in­ter­view re­cently.

With the many chal­lenges fac­ing South Africa, the Ham­man­skraal­born Makhaya ad­mit­ted to hav­ing her work cut out for her. She will be count­ing on the Pres­i­dent’s open com­mu­ni­ca­tion and lead­er­ship in order to steer the econ­omy in the right di­rec­tion.

“He’s given very clear di­rec­tions in terms of his ex­pec­ta­tions. It’s been great but ob­vi­ously we’re still set­tling in. As ad­vis­ers we want to build a strong team so that we can give each other feed­back and build a strong struc­ture.”

Since her ap­point­ment, Makhaya has had to ded­i­cate much of her en­ergy to meet­ing the man­date of se­cur­ing $100 bil­lion in in­vest­ment over the next five years.To achieve this, she works closely with the newly ap­pointed in­vest­ment en­voys and those govern­ment in­sti­tu­tions that are cen­tral to the in­vest­ment mo­bil­i­sa­tion drive.

These in­clude de­vel­op­ment fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions such as the In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and the In­vestSA One Stop Shop, an ini­tia­tive that aims to pri­ori­tise and pro­mote in­vest­ment.

Re­cently, South Africa signed the African Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agree­ment which of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate larger economies of scale a big­ger mar­ket and im­prove the prospects of the African con­ti­nent and to at­tract in­vest­ment.

Makhaya said it is the task of the Pres­i­dent’s in­vest­ment en­voys to en­sure that the AfCFTA is linked to their work.

The en­voys are also firm­ing up re­la­tion­ships with in­ter­na­tional in­vestors, some of which al­ready have a foot­print in the coun­try.

One of these in­vestors is Ger­man car­maker Mercedes-Benz, which last month un­veiled a R10 bil­lion in­vest­ment in its Eastern Cape plant.The in­vest­ment will see the com­pany pro­duce the lat­est range of lux­ury C-Class cars.

Makhaya is of the view that this is a great in­vest­ment for South Africa and shows that the coun­try’s auto in­dus­try is in­te­grated in terms of in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment.

Re­flect­ing on the re­cent World Eco­nomic Fo­rum held in Davos, where South Africa held roundtable en­gage­ments with sev­eral po­ten­tial in­vestors, she said policy cer­tainty and policy clar­ity re­main big is­sues for in­vestors.

Tele­com concerns re­gard­ing spec­trum al­lo­ca­tion and the fu­ture mar­ket struc­ture were also raised.

How­ever, it was re­ported ear­lier this year that South Africa plans to al­lo­cate more radio fre­quency to var­i­ous play­ers by March 2019.The al­lo­ca­tion of the spec­trum is key to ex­pand­ing South Africa’s broad­band fa­cil­i­ties as the high cost of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions is seen as a bar­rier to do­ing busi­ness.

Another con­cern was the Min­ing Char­ter, but Makhaya says this should be fi­nalised to­wards the end of the year.

“In­vestors un­der­stand the land de­bate but there’s anx­i­ety on whether it will be man­aged in line with the law,” she said, adding that it will be made clear that ex­pro­pri­a­tion will not af­fect new in­vest­ments.

Asked about the re­cent BRICS Sum­mit held in Jo­han­nes­burg, Makhaya said the sum­mit was a

very im­por­tant gath­er­ing for the coun­try and for the work that the en­voys have been do­ing.

China re­mains one of the big­gest in­vestors in the South African econ­omy and South Africa needs to en­cour­age Rus­sian and In­dian in­vest­ment into the coun­try, said Makhaya.

“With Brazil we’ve had mis­un­der­stand­ings about chicken in the past, which need to be re­solved. With In­dia, some­times I feel that maybe we are not do­ing as much as we should.There are good In­dian multi­na­tion­als in SA but we need to en­cour­age them to in­vest more.”

South Africa, which joined the bloc in 2011, hosted the sum­mit for the sec­ond time from 25 to 28 July.

In his State of the Na­tion ad­dress in Fe­bru­ary, Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa un­der­took to con­vene a jobs sum­mit fol­low­ing calls by trade unions for the govern­ment to cre­ate a plat­form on which plans to deal with un­em­ploy­ment and in­equal­ity would be dis­cussed.

Makhaya said prepa­ra­tions for the sum­mit are on­go­ing and that the plan is to en­sure that it pro­vides prac­ti­cal ideas on how to deal with the coun­try’s un­em­ploy­ment prob­lem.

Govern­ment is also putting to­gether its own tech­ni­cal work­ing teams on var­i­ous top­ics to be covered at the sum­mit.

For­mi­da­ble in her own right

Although some peo­ple may not have heard of her be­fore her rise to the top of­fice, Makhaya has made her mark in the busi­ness world and has founded her own ad­vi­sory firm, Makhaya Ad­vi­sory, which fo­cuses on com­pe­ti­tion policy and en­trepreneur­ship.

She has held non-executive di­rec­tor­ships at Vume­lana Ad­vi­sory Fund and MTN South Africa. She also joined the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion in 2010 as prin­ci­pal econ­o­mist, later be­com­ing the com­mis­sion’s deputy com­mis­sioner.

She holds an MBA and an MSc in De­vel­op­ment Eco­nom­ics from Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity, as well as an Hon­ours de­gree in eco­nom­ics and a BCom in law and eco­nom­ics. She is also a reg­u­lar colum­nist for the Busi­ness Day news­pa­per.

Trudi Makhaya is Pres­i­dent Cyril KZfZi­ahlZ l eco­nomic ad­vi­sor.

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