Eskom a big concern for international community at WEF

Part of the team that represented South Africa in Davos at WEF.

Part of the team that represented South Africa in Davos at WEF.

Published Jan 24, 2020


JOHANNESBURG - The world's business and governments elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 50th annual meeting this past week. 

As WEF draws to a close, the team representing South Africa, including the country's finance minister, Tito Mboweni, held a press conference in Davos to address some of the key outcomes for the country from WEF. 

Mboweni said during the press conference that team SA indicated to investors the steps that government is taking to manage the country's debt as well as curbing government spending to ensure fiscal sustainability.  He said that more details will be highlighted during 2020 budget speech.

Mboweni also told investors that government is handling the power shortages caused by the ailing state owned enterprise, Eskom, and acknowledged that the problems can not immediately go away. 

Mboweni said, “We had fruitful discussions, but if you think you are coming to Davos to sign deals, you are at the wrong place. You are here to build long term relationships, share your countries vision and listen carefully to the concerns of those investors that show an appetite to invest in your country. We tried our best to put our best foot forward, and I am convinced that we succeeded in addressing some concerns, such as South Africa’s ability to provide power."

He said that some of the key issues raised in Davos about South Africa by international community and investors were Eskom and fiscal sustainability.

On rating agencies, Mboweni, said, "The rating agencies are critical in allowing institutional investors and other investors to invest in government bonds. As such, they cannot be avoided as they are intrinsic to international investment."

Mboweni also said that team South Africa has had fruitful conversations with stakeholders, which he said he hoped would feed into a positive mood towards SA and help to galvanize investment and goodwill towards the country.

%%%twitter">@tito_mbowenispeaking at a debriefing media engagement in Davos says Africa Growth Platform is an important initiative with enormous investment opportunities for youth of Africa and Small-Medium Enterprises. #WEF2020 #TeamSAinDavos

— National Treasury (@TreasuryRSA)

Mboweni said that engaged people were concerned about the negative effect of electricity outages on business operations, however, he assured them by saying that government had appointed a new CEO with a vision and interest to lead an energy corporation.

The team that represented South Africa in Davos at WEF.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, added by saying, “SA still enjoys a lot if interest in Davos”. 

She identified more opportunities in the tourism industry and requested that more funding should be made available for investment in tourism communication.

On the issue of business confidence, Mboweni questioned, on a lighter note, whether the ‘business confidence forms’ are being filled in by CEO’s of companies themselves.

Mboweni was passionate about the African Growth Platform that will allow for a platform for over a 100 million small and medium enterprises to start and grow their businesses.


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