Cyril flays cor­rup­tion in Africa

First Africa In­vest­ment Fo­rum launched in Joburg

Sowetan - - News - By Mpho Sibany­oni and Moipone Male­fane

The African con­ti­nent should rid it­self of the scourge of cor­rup­tion if it wants to at­tract bil­lions of dol­lars worth of in­vest­ments.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa said this while de­liv­er­ing a key­note ad­dress at the wel­come din­ner of the first Africa In­vest­ment Fo­rum in Sand­ton last night. The con­fer­ence, which ends to­mor­row, has brought to­gether 20 heads of state and 1 500 del­e­gates from the con­ti­nent with the aim to net­work and cut busi­ness deals. “We have to de­velop sound poli­cies, im­prove gov­er­nance and deal de­ci­sively with the scourge of cor­rup­tion that con­tin­ues to dog our beau­ti­ful con­ti­nent,” said Ramaphosa.

“The con­ven­ing of the Africa In­vest­ment Fo­rum is but one of the many means by which we as African lead­ers seek to de­velop our con­ti­nent, im­prove the con­di­tions of her peo­ple and en­hance her pros­per­ity.

“In this we know we can count on the do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional busi­ness and in­vestor com­mu­nity to work with us, side by side.”

The pres­i­dent also lamented that there were con­cerns that bar­ri­ers to en­try were high, reg­u­la­tory red tape was overly bur­den­some and that gov­er­nance chal­lenges make in­vest­ing in African economies risky.

“It should not be dif­fi­cult to do busi­ness in Africa, and yet, as in­vestors often tell us, it has been.

“Pro­vid­ing pol­icy cer­tainty and con­sis­tency is crit­i­cal if we are to re­alise the lev­els of in­vest­ment we seek,” he said. Speak­ing at the same fo­rum ear­lier, Gaut­eng premier David Makhura said the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment was in talks with sev­eral busi­nesses to open new busi­nesses in the town­ships in or­der to cre­ate jobs. In turn, he said, the gov­ern­ment will re­ward them with land so that they can build their fac­to­ries.

“We will in­cen­tivise busi­ness by giv­ing them land which they can lease. Al­ready, we are in talks with sev­eral busi­nesses, in­clud­ing call cen­tres,” Makhura said. “Those that we spoke to are ex­cited. The task team that we have put to­gether to re­lease land is track­ing land that is avail­able for use.”

He said gov­ern­ment needed to work closely with busi­ness be­cause its fis­cals were shrink­ing, “that is why there is a need to look at pri­vate sec­tor to fund gov­ern­ment projects”.

Makhura said busi­ness peo­ple have raised con­cerns about safety and se­cu­rity if they move their op­er­a­tions to town­ships. “Crime is a con­cern for busi­ness... but very soon, we will be un­veil­ing new lead­er­ship of po­lice for the prov­ince. “We are now hav­ing a hear­ing from the po­lice min­is­ter about the need to fight crime... ” he said.

JIYANE / GCIS / ELMOND

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

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