South Africa

‘You don’t come with a bag full of money’: Godongwana gears up to take on Davos

Fiance Minister Enoch Godongwana

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana is gearing up to lead South Africa’s delegation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Godongwana held a media briefing on Thursday ahead of the annual conference next week.

Speaking to The Citizen, the finance minister acknowledged that SA’s delegation had to present a positive image of the country to attract investors.

“In an investment [platform] like this, you don’t come with a bag full of money. To some extent, you change perceptions. Therefore, overtime because of the changed perceptions, people come and invest in your country,” Godongwana said.

“The common message we are taking to the Annual Meeting is that South Africa remains open for business and is committed to creating a conducive environment.”

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‘With investment comes growth’

The WEF provides a platform for dialogue among thought leaders on issues ranging from political structures, geopolitical concerns, environmental problems and leadership challenges.

Furthermore, the conference fosters debates and discussions on controversial topics between the public, scholars, business leaders and policy-makers around the world.

Most importantly, WEF presents opportunities for world leaders to meet and attract investors to their respective countries – which is crucial for SA.

“With investment comes growth, with growth comes better revenue,” said Godongwana.

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Davos matters

The global conference comes amid a prolonged economic tide when many South Africans are trimming their budgets to stay afloat.

Some wonder if the timing could be better, questioning whether global trips often marked by exorbitant expenditure by government officials are necessary.

Godongwana believes going to Davos is standard.

“It’s an event that by its nature is so powerful that any country worth its salt has to be there, in order to put its case across,” he told The Citizen.

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‘Rebuilding Trust’

There’s undoubtedly been a shift in the global economy in post-pandemic years. Geopolitical events such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict and Israeli-Hamas war have also transformed international relations.

The WEF theme for 2024 is ‘Rebuilding Trust’ and will focus on four interconnected priorities.

  • Achieving security
  • Creating growth and jobs a new era
  • Artificial intelligence as a driving force for the economy and safety
  • A long-term strategy for climate, nature and energy.