WEF presents government with chance to show unity
Shenaaz Jamal | 2017-05-01 16:30:52.0
President Jacob Zuma.
Image by: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma will lead a delegation of 17 ministers and deputy ministers to the World Economic Forum being held in Durban this week‚ in a move economists say is designed to show the foreign community that there is unity in government.
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The three-day event begins on Wednesday at the Durban International Convention Centre and will see world leaders‚ economists and analysts converge on the coastal city.
Economists say the large contingent‚ which includes Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and his deputy Sifiso Buthelezi‚ is an attempt for government to show a united front following the Cabinet reshuffle and ratings downgrades that followed.‘Those stealing from the people must be removed and disciplined’ - Ramphosa
Economist Dawie Roodt said government needed to use the opportunity wisely and ensure it attended the forum with concrete policies and plans to regain investor confidence.
“There needs to be good leadership at the forefront to calm some nerves but you have to show people what you can offer‚ but we don't even know what radical economic transformation is‚” said Roodt.WEF Africa has come to SA at the right time‚ says Zuma
This year the forum is set to focus specifically on issues that include education‚ skills and employment; entrepreneurship; energy; infrastructure and development finance; combating‚ adapting to and building resilience against climate change; and science‚ technology and innovation.
Another economist‚ Azar Jamine‚ said the government wanted to see itself as an important leader in Africa and would try to impress investors
“This is really not going to be making a huge impact on the economy‚ although it seems they are trying to resuscitate the confidence in the economy‚” said Jamine.
The forum will also see a number of fringe events taking place around Durban‚ including the launch of Oxfam’s “Starting with People: A human economy approach to inclusive growth in Africa” report.
The report is set to be a response to Africa’s inequality crisis‚ persistent poverty and troubling economic prospects across many African countries.
“The report explores the potential of the human economy to achieve inclusive economic growth‚ focusing first and foremost on what works for people‚” said Oxfam spokesman Isaac Mangena.
The forum will also see a heavy presence of police and intelligence officers. On Monday‚ police said security would be tight at the event‚ with extra security measures having been put in place as some NGOs and community organisations are expected to protest. Communities have been warned to protest in the designated areas and within the confines of the law.
“There will be uncompromising security and any criminal or disruptive conduct will result in appropriate action being taken‚ including arrest and prosecution‚” said police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo.