Gauteng Premier David Makhura said on Thursday that by hosting the inaugural African Investment Forum (AIF), South Africa has placed itself at the service of the African continent as the catalyst for investment, and that Gauteng was already playing its part in intra-Africa trade.
Speaking at the opening plenary of the AIF, Makhura said the mood prevailing at the forum was that investors wanted to emerge with concrete results, transactions and real deals that are signed and sealed. He said that Africa was tired of forums that were talk-shops.
"The Africa Investment Forum is precisely about winning concrete results that guarantee a better future for the children of Africa; for the women and youth of our continent. President [Akinwumi] Adesina correctly says that people do not eat potential," Makhura said.
"Africa is making a transition from aid to investment and from poverty to prosperity here and now. By hosting this historic forum, South Africa is placing itself at the service of this great cause of our continent, as the catalyst for investment."
The forum provides an open platform to multilateral institutions, governments and the private sector to improve the pipeline of projects that can transform the continent. The focus is on structuring deals, screening and enhancing projects, attracting co-investors, and facilitating transactions to unlock Africa's multi-billion dollar investment opportunities.
Makhura said investor confidence was rising in South Africa because President Cyril Ramaphosa understood how both business people and workers thought. As a leader, Ramaphosa understood investment decisions and was also committed to create policy certainty, improve the ease of doing business and enhance the performance of public institutions and tackle corruption, he added.
He also punted his province, Gauteng, as being at the cutting edge of Africa's industrialisation efforts and as one of the principal contributors to Africa's economic integration and intra-Africa trade. He said that Gauteng was chosen as home by many African migrants and entrepreneurs instead going to Europe or America.
"This province I have the honour to lead is the financial nerve centre and manufacturing workshop of Sub-Saharan Africa. We contribute 35 percent to South Africa's economy. We have 14.7-million people – one out of every four people in South Africa lives in Gauteng. We are the seventh largest economy in Africa," Makhura said.
"Gauteng businesses have 200 active investment projects in different parts of Africa, contributing more than $30-billion to intra-Africa trade. Our continent also has the potential to become the world's next great manufacturing centre and in the coming years, we will be a major source of food for the world as 60 percent of the world’s unused arable land is on our continent."