Article from Herald Live

South Africa’s Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba impressed foreign investors – and even his predecessors – at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schuble even flew to Durban just for one day on Thursday to participate in the Gigaba-led “Strengthening G20 Partnership with Africa” plenary.

By all accounts‚ Gigaba appeared to have won the confidence of the wary global financial establishment by assuring investors not only on policy consistency and fiscal consolidation‚ but also with open engagements on the country’s efforts to mitigate and manage the adverse effects of recent downgrades.

Whether by design or strategy, there was no word on radical socioeconomic transformation from him on Friday. Fielding questions during a mini bilateral meeting with Singapore Deputy Prime Minster Tharman Shanmugaratnam on the sidelines of the WEF‚ Gigaba said the two countries were exploring prospects of strengthening trade and investment opportunities. Singapore was identified as a model for economic growth that South African could imitate.

“The deputy prime minister informed us that Singapore has an embassy in South Africa and views South Africa as an important player on the African continent,” he said.

“And they have an important agency that encourages Singaporean investment to a country – Enterprised International based in Johannesburg.”

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Gigaba said such agencies were there for South Africa to use to communicate its investment message.

“We have been indicating that in terms of our policies there is going to be consistency,” he said. “The budget as presented is going to be implemented as it was presented.

“We are committed to maintaining fiscal consolidation in ensuring that we increase our spending in line with growth in the economy and the revenue base and the money that comes [in] to our coffers.”

Gigaba said this was to provide the certainty required by foreign investors with regard to policy and fiscal policy. Shanmugaratnam said he was pleased to be given assurances that South Africa was friendly for business. He said although it was early days‚ Gigaba was able to provide clarity and assurance.

“First, I think the fundamentals for expanding trade and investment with South Africa are there,” he said.

“Having clarity about the investment climate is very important.”