SA’s economic policies hailed

Accelerated growth plan and skill development also figured in discussions Tata and other members of the South Africa International Inv estment Council had with President Thabo Mbeki at Magaliesberg near Johannesburg. The three-day talks ended on Sunday evening. NRI steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal of Mittal Steel, Reuters chairman Niall Fitzgerald, former Daimler Chrysler chairman Jurgen Schrempp and Sam Jonah of Anglo-Gold Ashanti also form part of the council. Predicting that South Africa had the potential to better its projected growth rate of six per cent, the council members saluted Mbeki for his management of the country’s economy. But they warned that the government had to communicate more with the outside world to attract foreign investors. In his closing remarks, President Mbeki said he and his cabinet ministers were pleased with the advice given by the international investors. The country’s preparedness for staging the football World Cup in 2010 was also taken up, Mbeki said adding that the council would reconven in the second half of 2006. Council members felt that South Africa’s twin growth plans of ASGISA (Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa) and skill development were bold interventions. “A very detailed discussion took place on ASGISA. This has been underpinned in every detail by a specific action plan. It’s a very business-like approach,” Fitzgerald told reporters after the meeting. The reports also come as top African political and business leaders meet in South Africa for the World Economic Forum on Africa to discuss steps to sustain the current economic growth on the continent and launch a public-private partnership that aims to address the root causes of poverty. More than 700 participants are expected at the forum, which runs from 31 May to 2 June in Cape Town under the theme “Going for Growth”. Africa’s top business, political and civil society leaders will identify priorities and actions to sustain and build upon economic successes on the continent. African econ-omies have grown by an average five percent yearly in the past few years. Delegates will look at ways to work with business to encourage a change of perception on Africa. The delegates will consider how a legacy of negative perception has hindered growth in Africa and how to use the continent’s comparative advantages to push forward its development agenda. They will take an in-depth look at countries and sectors that are performing well with the objective of learning from these. They will also address the risks involved in driving growth and development and assess new opportunities for growth in Africa. The relationship with China and India will come under the spotlight, with a view to exploiting the opportunities available. “The World Economic Forum on Africa will focus on the individual success stories driving growth and discuss ways to scale up these pockets of success,” said Haiko Alfred, director for Africa of the World Economic Forum. He noted that business has a key role to play in building credibility of reform and re-branding efforts, “not least to counter the ‘collective contagion’ still afflicting Africa.” Among the high profile participants at the World Economic Forum on Africa will be South African President Thabo Mbeki, Mozambique’s President Armando Emillio Guebuza and President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania. Other delegates will include Gobind Nankani, World Bank vice president for Africa; Erastus Mwencha, secretary-general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa; Naill Fitzgerald, chairperson of Reuters; chief executive officers of many leading businesses in Africa; government ministers and central bank governors. The forum will also launch a public-private partnership to reduce chronic hunger. The business alliance between companies and hunger experts will design a model for businesses to work together in addressing the root causes of hunger. ‘ wnafrica.

May 2006
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