Coronavirus epidemic requires, there was no big rally in Johannesburg this year for the annual conference on investment in South Africa. It is behind his screen, in large part, that the President of the Republic, Cyril Ramaphosa, convinced investors. His country has attracted nearly 6 billion euros of investments, especially in sectors affected by the economic crisis linked to the pandemic. And it was not for granted. “The world is still in the grip of a devastating pandemic that has wreaked havoc on global markets. Difficult decisions had to be taken on investments, development and entry into new markets ”, introduced the Head of State.
The country of nearly 60 million inhabitants is one of the most affected by Covid-19, both in terms of health, with more than a third of the number of cases recorded on the continent (740,000 cases and 20,000 deaths ), than economically. This did not prevent Cyril Ramaphosa from starting to reopen the country, especially the borders. His government is planning local re-containment measures, especially in areas where the situation is worrying, such as Cape Town.
A long road to recovery
Earlier, Cyril Ramaphosa had portrayed a South African economy “severely damaged” by the pandemic, with an unemployment rate that has reached a record high. The number of unemployed registered between July and September is 2.2 million more people compared to the period April-June, bringing the total to 6.5 million unemployed.
According to the country’s statistics agency (StatsSA), the continent’s most industrialized country saw its gross domestic product (GDP) collapse by 51% in the second quarter compared to 2019.
The government is forecasting a 7.2% decline in GDP for the whole of 2020. Last month, Ramaphosa unveiled a Covid-19 recovery plan focused on public works and job creation.
At the first investment conference in 2018, Ramaphosa set a target of attracting 65.5 billion euros over five years. Several of these investments “are in sectors which have been severely affected by the Covid-19, in particular the tourism and hotel industries”, underlined the Head of State in his closing speech held by videoconference. “These investments will greatly contribute to their recovery,” he added. Among the promises, that of the new development bank of the group of countries Brics which wish to invest nearly 32 billion rand for various projects in South Africa. Industrialist Sasol said he would invest a minimum of 5.4 billion rand and PepsiCo 5.5 billion rand.