Mboweni heads to the UK for investment charm offensive

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni (Gallo)
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni (Gallo)
Times Live / Esa Alexander/Gallo

Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni will lead a SA government delegation to an investment summit in the United Kingdom on Monday in a bid to bolster trade and investment between the two countries.

According to National Treasury, Mboweni and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor will represent South Africa as they attend the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London. The summit is taking place ahead of the start of the annual World Economic Forum, which kicks off on Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland.  

Treasury said the ministers will be on the charm offensive at both events. "Team South Africa will communicate at both the UK-Africa Investment Summit and WEF platforms, the message that while South Africa faces challenges of weak economic growth and fiscal pressures, the country remains open for business as one of the best investment destinations in the world".

The summit will focus on sustainable finance, trade and investment, future African growth sectors, and clean energy and climate. 

South Africa would also highlight the strides being made to implement structural reforms to ignite economic growth, ease the cost of doing business, curb government debt, and stabilise state-owned entities, according to Treasury. But the ministers will also face questions about power cuts, high unemployment, and straggling GDP growth. Last week the SA Reserve Bank announced that it expects GDP growth of a mere 0.4% in 2019. 

Mboweni will also lead a SA delegation to 2020 WEF annual meeting in Davos, between January 21 to 24. The delegation includes Pandor and Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, but not President Cyril Ramaphosa. The president said last week that he would stay in South Africa to focus on "pressing domestic priorities".

The summit comes ahead of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union at end of January. In September, South Africa concluded a new trade deal with the UK, which will kick in if Britain leaves the EU without a comprehensive trade agreement.

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