WEF on Africa a major boost for brand SA, to give economy a R19m injection

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WEF on Africa a major boost for brand SA, to give the economy a R19m injection. Photo: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
CAPE TOWN – The 28th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa kicks off in Cape Town today, attracting more than 1 000 international delegates and is expected to have an economic impact of more than R19 million on the region.

This was according to research by the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau, which said that the WEF on Africa would result in a sizeable injection into the local economy.

Cape Town and the Western Cape warmly welcomed the WEF delegates to the Mother City, with Wesgro’s chief executive Tim Harris saying the conference was a major boost for the brand of the destination.

“It will assist in our efforts to promote tourism, trade, investment and film in Cape Town, the Western Cape and South Africa,” said Harris.

He added that the global event was set to boost the Cape economy through direct spending by the delegates, as well as boosting the brand of the Cape as an economic and ideas hub on the continent.

“This is incredibly important for our promotion efforts, as the world’s eyes will be on Cape Town.”

Wesgro collaborated with Brand South Africa in their WEF Africa Media Tour, which took place yesterday.

The briefing at Workshop 17 at the V&A Waterfront was attended by Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Thembi Siweya, Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities, David Maynier and acting chief executive of Brand South Africa, Thulisile Manzini.

President Cyril Ramaphosa can lead the South African delegation to the global gathering with his head high after the country avoided a technical recession by posting a 3.1 percent growth in the gross domestic product in the second quarter from a 3.2 percent contraction in the first quarter.

However, the country has attracted criticism from other African countries as it was rocked by an outbreak of xenophobic violence in Joburg, the economic hub and Pretoria, the administrative capital.

The attacks come ahead of a state visit to South Africa next month by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, a country whose nationals have been affected.

South Africa and Nigeria account for almost half of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP but are proving to be a damper on the region’s economic expansion.

Among the solutions likely to be touted at WEF on Africa as a panacea for accelerated growth is the African Continental Free Trade Area.

An accord on the area, signed in July, will cover the entire continent and will be the world’s largest free-trade zone once it’s fully operational. 

Additional Reporting: African News Agency (ANA)