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The Fourth South Africa

The Fourth South Africa Investment Conference The opening address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Fourth South Africa Investment Conference, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, March 2022. Welcome to the Fourth South Africa Investment Conference. We meet at a moment when our country, like many others, is facing huge challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet it is also a moment of great opportunity and promise. For two years, our world has been battered by a pandemic far worse than any experienced in more than a century. Our economy, like so many around the world, has been severely damaged. Unemployment has deepened, resulting in the loss of almost twomillion jobs. Businesses have closed and families across our nation have suffered great hardship. But it could have been far worse. Had we not acted swiftly to contain transmission and strengthen our health facilities many more people would have gotten ill and many more lives would have been lost. Had we not introduced an unprecedented social and economic relief package, many more businesses would have closed, many more jobs would have been lost and many more people would have gone hungry. Not only did these measures provide vital support to those most affected by the pandemic; they also established a foundation for the recovery of our economy. Due to the decline in Covid infections, hospital admissions and deaths, and thanks to the levels of vaccination and immunity, we have entered a new phase in the management of the pandemic. We have been able to remove almost all restrictions on social and economic activity. We are learning to live, to work and to build back and reconstruct with the virus in our midst. This Fourth South Africa Investment Conference could not be taking place at a better time, just as the country is casting off the long shadow of the pandemic and embarking on a concerted and determined recovery. We are not unaware of the challenges our country faces. We know that our challenges are many, that they are complex and that they are protracted. But we are neither defined by these challenges, nor are we daunted by them. Rather, we are dedicated to surely, steadily and decisively overcoming them. I am not here to pretend that these challenges are not real. I am here to share with you about what has been done and what we are doing to meet these challenges. I am here to say that as the government of the Republic of South Africa we are making progress along the difficult but necessary path of reform we embarked on three years ago, that we are starting to see the results. Energy transformation Nowhere is this difficult path more apparent than in the sphere of energy. No economy can operate without a reliable supply of electricity. That is why we have undertaken the most extensive transformation of our energy sector in nearly a century. 38 |

INVESTMENT _________________ These are all places where investment commitments are being realised, where plants are being built, where jobs are being created and where production is underway. ________________ Credit: DM Khwezi Photography In December last year Eskom met its deadline of establishing a separate transmission entity and is set to complete the process of unbundling into separate entities for generation, transmission and distribution by the end of this year. We are moving ahead to facilitate a competitive market for electricity generation, and the establishment of an independent stateowned transmission company. We have a deficit of some 4 000MW of energy supply. We are working with the private sector to fast-track investment to unlock a potential 4 000 MW of embedded generation. We have increased the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1MW to 100MW. Last year, we launched Bid Window 6 of our Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). This is going to add new generation capacity to the grid over the next two years, mainly through wind and solar power. And so, even as the country continues to experience intermittent loadshedding, we are moving with pace and determination to bring new generation capacity online in the shortest possible time. We are doing so while undertaking the far-reaching reforms that will secure a reliable, affordable and sustainable supply of electricity well into the future. For South Africa’s economy to realise its potential as a supplier of products to markets across the world, it needs roads, railways and ports that work. While we undertake a range of measures to improve operational performance, we are also implementing structural reforms to increase investment, introduce new technologies and skills and improve efficiency in our rail and port infrastructure. The establishment of Transnet National Ports Authority as a separate entity may not, at first glance, seem particularly transformational, but it is a long-overdue structural reform that will have a profound effect on investment in ports’ infrastructure. Transnet will soon start the process of providing third-party access to the freight rail network, a development that will encourage more efficient use of some of our country’s most valuable infrastructure assets. Mobile spectrum Last week, we concluded the first significant spectrum auction in close to two decades. This is going to unlock valuable spectrum for mobile communications that will have significant benefits for consumers and businesses and will facilitate the deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country. Soon we will be completing the migration of our TV signal from analogue to digital, unlocking much of the country’s digital potential. Credit: DM Khwezi Photography

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