Ramaphosa to be the face of SA economy at Davos | Fin24

Ramaphosa to be the face of SA economy at Davos

Jan 10 2018 16:04
Yolandi Groenewald

Johannesburg - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will again lead South Africa’s delegation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the elite annual meeting of billionaires, businessmen and politicians.

For the second year in a row Ramaphosa will be the face of the South African economy at the 48th World Economic Forum annual meeting, held from 23-26 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

Davos provides an important platform to market and showcase South Africa to global business and other key international stakeholders. Last year Ramaphosa partnered with then finance minister Pravin Gordhan to promote South Africa’s economy, after President Jacob Zuma withdrew at the last minute.

The South African team’s performance won a lot of praise.

But with the South African economy’s less than sterling year and Gordhan’s sacking, Team SA is expected to field hard questions this year about its plans to kickstart the lacklustre economy, suffering from poor GDP growth. 

While last year the meeting dealt with protectionism in the global economy, this year’s meeting will take place under the theme “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. The gathering wants to promote renewed commitment to international collaboration as a way of solving critical global challenges.

The meeting will bring together over 2 500 leaders from business, government, international organisations, civil society, academia and the arts.

Traditionally Davos is not always a favourite destination for sitting presidents, because of its perceived elitist nature. Finance ministers most often head the delegations, but President Jacob Zuma had been a regular at the conference in the past. 

Last year was the first time ever that the Chinese president attended, and his speech about the benefits of globalisation in the Brexit and Trump environment set the cat among the pigeons.

This year will also see India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi make the first speech at the event by an Indian leader. US President Donald Trump also announced on Tuesday that he planned to attend.  

Other speakers include Trump’s chief economics adviser, Gary Cohn, former Democratic vice president Joe Biden, former British prime minister Gordon Brown and Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

The South African delegation will comprise of ministers and business leaders, including Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba as the lead Minister and coordinator.

President Jacob Zuma, who at the same time will head South Africa’s delegation to the 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa,  extended his best wishes to the South African delegation.

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