Attracting investors requires serious commitment: Economist

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Economist Iraj Abedian says attracting investors requires serious commitment on the side of government. President Cyril Ramaphosa will host the inaugural South African Investment conference in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, from Friday.

Earlier this year, Ramaphosa appointed a team of economic heavyweights to head an investment drive to try to attract up to R1,2 trillion in foreign direct investment over the next five years. A global investment study by the UN found that Foreign Direct Investment into South Africa had slowed down by 41 per cent over the past five years.

Abedian says South Africa needs a focused sectorial plan to attract investors.

He says, “We have to deal with local authorities. These municipalities are not fit for purpose. How do we convince them to stop talking, stop promising, we start doing and when we do people watch us and when we put out reports, we begin to gain their confidence, demonstrate that we mean business. If politicians have to be cleaned up, they have to be cleaned up, if business have to be cleaned up, they have to be cleaned up. Municipalities have to be improved, then we’re talking genuine investment plan.”