South Africa’s Trade and Industry Department and the World Bank Group on Monday announced an advisory services partnership aimed at improving the business environment for domestic entrepreneurs.
According to the department, the partnership will allow the undertaking of policy and institutional reform to enhance foreign direct investment inflows. The partnership will focus on three key reform areas – business regulation, investment policy and promotion, and market regulation and competition policy.
The advisory agreement formalises the partnership between the government of South Africa and the World Bank Group to support the national reform effort led by the department of Trade and Industry, the department of Economic Development and National Treasury.
World Bank Group’s support to the government of South Africa will be delivered in partnership with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the Prosperity Fund of the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The department said the project will deploy a Country Private Sector Diagnostic, a standard World Bank Group tool, to identify industry sectors which can attract significant domestic and foreign investments and deliver positive development impacts in the near term if key inhibitors are addressed.
“Support from World Bank Group and its development partners promotes South Africa’s growth agenda. The dti and InvestSA hope to gain insights into best practice from the partnership.
“I would like to assure you that we are committed to addressing the employment deficits that we face, and this will start with providing the right environment for the private sector to flourish. The four-year programme will be led and coordinated by InvestSA,” said Lionel October, dti director general.
Commitment to the national reform programme was articulated at the highest level within government structures, dti added in a statement.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his State of the Nation address last month, committed to ensuring business competitiveness and an enabling business environment as a cornerstone of the drive for both domestic and foreign direct investment and the jobs that they are expected to generate.
“IFC (International Finance Corporation) is committed to working across the World Bank Group to help South Africa achieve best practices and real impact in its reform efforts. The target set by President Ramaphosa of generating investment of $100 billion within five years is important. It sets the tone for the policies needed to attract foreign direct investment.,” said Kevin Njiraini, IFC regional director for Southern Africa.
Early deliverables under the support program will be inputs into the government of South Africa’s investment strategy, which is expected to address not just horizontal barriers to private sector investment but also sector specific enablers for growth and employment creation.
“The UK is the largest investor in South Africa, but we’re determined to build on that here and elsewhere in Africa. Our Prime Minister set an ambition to make the UK the No 1 G7 investor in Africa by 2022. We also strongly support President Ramaphosa’s ambition to attract an additional $100 billion of investment into South Africa,” said Nigel Casey, British high commissioner to South Africa.
“Today’s announcement is part of how we are going to support the Government’s ambitions and deliver on our own ambition about the role that UK investors should play. We intend, to this end, to make use of the UK’s R900m Prosperity Fund in South Africa.”
Helene Budliger Artieda, Ambassador of Switzerland, said: “South Africa is one of the priority countries for Switzerland’s economic cooperation and development on the continent. We wish to contribute in a meaningful way to South Africa’s development and competitiveness and believe that this program will lead to much-needed job creation and at the same time reduce poverty and inequalities. It’s my government’s hope that this partnership will unlock the phenomenal economic potential of Africa’s biggest and most diverse economy.”
Source: ANA|COMPATRIOT MAGAZINE