Remarks by Honourable Premier RM Mtshweni-Tsipane on the occasion of the Mpumalanga – US business roundtable
12 July 2022Programme Director;
Ambassador Nomaindiya Mfeketo;
MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Vusumuzi Mkhatshwa;
Members of the Executive Council in our midst;
Representatives of the US Embassy in Pretoria;
Representatives of the US – SA Business Council;
Distinguished guests, speakers and panelists;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
- Programme Director, it is a pleasure for me to welcome you all to this Mpumalanga-US Business Roundtable.
- On behalf of the Mpumalanga Provincial Government, I wish to express gratitude to Ambassador Mfeketo and her team for making this Roundtable a reality.
- We wish to thank her for the patience as this event was initially scheduled to happen last year but due to reasons beyond our control, it could only take place in 2022.
- Allow me to also take this opportunity to thank MEC Vusumuzi Mkhatshwa, and the team of officials at the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) and the Office of the Premier for their sterling work in organizing this Roundtable.
- Programme Director, this month of July is an important one for our people as we commemorate the birth of our icon uTata Nelson Mandela.
- We and the rest of the world are proud of his sterling role in laying the foundation for the longstanding relationship between South Africa and the United States.
- Today we note how South Africa is the leading recipient of US foreign direct investment in Africa with more than 600 US companies established across the length and breadth of our Country.
- In 2019 the US Chamber of Commerce’s US -Africa Business Center announced plans to revitalize its US-South Africa Business Council with the intent of doubling American commercial investment in the region by 2025.
- As the province of Mpumalanga we wish to welcome your participation in our economy.
- The province of Mpumalanga, the place of the rising sun, is ready for business.
- Mpumalanga, is home to more than 4.68 million residents (roughly 7.8% of the national population), and is the fifth biggest regional economy in South Africa.
- We are a diverse and resource-rich regional economy. Our strategic location between the Kingdom of eSwatini and Mozambique makes us one of the most attractive trade and investment destinations in South- East Africa.
- This is a province ready for business and attracting foreign domestic investment constitutes an important component of our development objectives.
- As will be outlined by the MEC and also illustrated in the various presentations, we are a province with clear comparative advantage in the following economic sectors:
- Mining and quarrying;
- gas and water; and
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing
- The scenic beauty of our region and the diverse flora and fauna have also made ‘tourism’ an important competitive sector of our economy.
- Ladies and gentlemen, Mpumalanga is a regional economic powerhouse in a country that is one of the most sophisticated, diverse and promising emerging markets globally.
- We are part of a country characterised by political and macro-economic stability where the rule of law is respected alongside an independent judiciary.
- We also have among other legislation, The Protection of Investment Act 2015 (PIA), which codifies typical bilateral investment treaty provisions into domestic law, while ensuring consistency with the South African Constitution. This Act is essential to our positioning as a safe and sustainable investment destination for foreign direct investment.
- Without a doubt we do experience sporadic service delivery protests.
- However, much progress has been made in addressing such difficulties.
- For example, the South African Cabinet, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, adopted the District Development Model (DDM) in 2019.
- The model provides the framework for South African municipalities to tackle service-delivery problems, through joint and collaborative planning undertaken at local, district and metropolitan level by all three spheres of governance.
- We must acknowledge that as a province we have infrastructure challenges such as those related to the quality and pricing in rail, ports and rural and district roads.
- Despite being the centre of energy generation in the Nation, we have also suffered from the energy insecurity that has affected the entire country.
- We wish to acknowledge the difficulties posed to business as a result of what is generally referred to as “power outages” or “Load shedding”.
- This can be blamed on a combination of factors such as delayed commissioning of new generation capacity, underperformance of existing and new-build coal generation capacity and degradation of the existing Eskom coal fleet.
- Nevertheless, we wish to welcome national government’s efforts to address these challenges. For example, government in partnership with the private sector has embarked on the Renewable Energy Independent Power Production Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), which has attracted investments of close to R 200 billion since its inception.
- Mpumalanga is ready for business and I must mention how as a province we have state owned agencies that are strategically positioned to collaborate with potential investors to remove bureaucratic red tape and ease the burden of doing business.
- One such agency is the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA). MEGA is a provincial development agency specifically tasked to drive growth in various sectors of the provincial economy and therefore provide opportunities to the inhabitants of Mpumalanga through the funding in respect of property development, approved enterprises, housing loans, and agricultural development, focusing primarily on previously disadvantaged individuals within the province.
- As the country and the Province gradually recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, MEGA’s role has become more important as we have amended its operational strategy to position it as the centre of post-Covid economic recovery efforts that are focused on boosting demand, providing replacement income, and facilitating new investments.
- MEGA will assist as part of our welcoming efforts and supportive business framework for all potential investors from the US.
- MEGA will ensure that qualifying investors are matched with investment incentives offered by different institutions such as National Treasury, the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (DTIC), Department of Small Business Development (DSBS) and the various agencies of these departments such as SARS, IDC, NEF, and SEFA.
- These incentives comprise tax incentives, matching funding and concessional loan facilities and may be used to construct a ‘package’ of appropriate support.
- With these words I wish to extend a warm welcome to all potential businesses that may wish to explore opportunities in our province.
- We look forward to further engagements and your participation in this Webinar.
- I Thank You