Business leaders and politicians are all set to gather in Sandton Johannesburg on Tuesday 14 January for the second Business Economic Indaba (BEI2020).
According to EWN, Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the keynote address, in which he’s expected to address concerns around cash-strapped state-owned entities, like power utility, Eskom.
Business Unity SA president Sipho Pityana will deliver the opening address.
What is BEI2020?
This year’s economic indaba’s theme, “Activating Actual Outcomes”, is aimed at developing new partnerships to rescue South Africa’s battered economy.
Business Unity South Africa will be hosting the indaba in a concerted effort to mobilise collective business endeavours to improve the repositioning of the economy and strengthen the working relationship with the government on key challenges facing the economy.
According to the Business Unity South Africa website, the indaba takes place at a critical time in the development of the country.
“The economy is in serious crisis, growth has flat-lined, inequality is increasing, and hope for the poor and unemployed is decreasing,” it said.
“The rating agencies have spoken, the poor and unemployed have spoken, and business leaders speak about it every day: drastic action is needed to pull our economy back from the brink.”
Who will attend BEI2020?
Prominent business leaders, including those from Busa-affiliated business associations, chairpersons and CEOs of blue-chip corporates, local and international partners and associates, will be in attendance.
Ramaphosa, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe and Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi will be in attendance with the aim to better shape South Africa in 2020.
South Africa in an economic crisis
According to Polity.org, Pityana said it was pivotal that business and government put their heads together to address the serious economic crisis the country was facing.
“South Africa is facing an unprecedented economic crisis — the longest economic downswing since 1945. We had an average economic growth rate of 1.5% over the last decade, compared to over 4% in other emerging economies,” he said.
Konrad Reuss is Standard and Poor’s global sub-Saharan managing director. He said tough decisions needed to be made to steer the economy in the right direction.
“The challenge around the power crisis, we want to see how this government will put momentum despite the fact that the factionalism we have,” he said.
Government’s debt has ballooned from 26% in 2008 to 56 % of GDP in 2019.
“Unemployment has risen to almost 30% (there are now 10 million people unemployed), and we are sitting on a powder-keg of unemployed youth with little or no future. As if this is not enough, we are also facing a real prospect of a sovereign rating downgrade that could exacerbate these conditions,” added Pityana.
Guiding discussions at BEI2020
Five key focus areas will be workshopped for the bulk of the day and will focus on how to forge greater business and government collaboration at BEI2020.
The focus areas are:
- Energy security;
- Enabling a capable state;
- Critical sectors for economic growth;
- The structure of the economy; and
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).