Ramaphosa Targets $100 Billion in South African Investment

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(Bloomberg) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is spearheading a drive to attract $100 billion in new investment as he seeks to kick-start an economy that looks to be on the rebound following years of stagnation.

The push Ramaphosa announced Monday is the latest sign that he intends following through on pledges to create jobs and address years of economic mismanagement since he replaced Jacob Zuma as the leader of Africa’s most industrialized economy two months ago. His administration has already replaced the boards of a number of state companies beset by governance and financial woes.

Ramaphosa named former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, former Standard Bank Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Jacko Maree and Astrapak Ltd. Chairwoman Phumzile Langeni as “investment envoys.” He also appointed Makhaya Advisory Chief Executive Officer Trudi Makhaya as his economic adviser. South Africa will hold an investment conference in the fourth quarter, he said.

“The reason for putting together a top team like this is to enable us to go out like a pack of hunting lions,” Ramaphosa told reporters in Johannesburg. “We are unleashing this pack of lions to go and hunt down those investments for us.”

Total fixed investment in South Africa declined to about 19 percent of gross domestic product last year, from 24 percent in 2008, with foreign direct investment dropping to 17.6 billion rand ($1.47 billion) from 76 billion rand over the period, government data shows.

The World Bank said last week that it sees South Africa’s economy growing 1.4 percent this year, up from 1.1 percent estimated in January. The country could more than halve its number of poor people to 4 million by 2030 if it tackles corruption, gets free higher education right and reduces policy uncertainty in its mining industry, the Washington-based lender said in a report.

“South Africa is an investment destination with significant unrealized potential,” Ramaphosa said. “Economic conditions in our country are changing. We are encouraged by the growth in business confidence over the last few months, the strengthened rand and improved growth estimates.”

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