Business and political leaders gathered at the African edition of the World Economic Forum in South Africa against the backdrop of a wave of xenophobic attacks that have undermined President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assurances the continent’ most-industrialised economy is open for business.
Here are the latest developments at the conference, updated throughout the day.
Gender-violence protest (11:38 am)
Hundreds of protesting students attempted to gain entrance to the Cape Town International Convention Centre, where the WEF event is set to begin at midday. The students, bearing placards condemning recent attacks on women, were blocked by a large police presence, including riot vehicles.
The demonstration was sparked by the murder of a University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana at the end of August. A woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa, according to statistics from the South African Police Service.
CEOs optimistic (11 am)
PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey, released at the forum on Wednesday, shows that 93% of chief executive officers on the continent are confident about their organisation’s prospects for revenue growth over the next three years. That’s higher than the global average of 85%.
Where will the growth come from? “Largely from internal forces. CEOs in Africa identify operational efficiencies, organic growth and the launch of a new products and services as their primary drivers of revenue growth.”
Ramaphosa reassurance (7:26 am)
Ramaphosa sought to drive home the message that South Africa is open for business. He said the government has made demonstrable progress in making it easier to do business by reducing red tape, easing visa requirements and reducing port and rail tariffs, he said.
New laws are also being drafted to facilitate the development of the oil and gas industry, while a long-awaited energy masterplan will be finalised soon, Ramaphosa told business leaders at a breakfast in Cape Town. He’s due to address the WEF gathering later on Wednesday.
© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.