SA seeking global investment partners to boost economy

FIFI PETERS: The SA Tomorrow Investor Conference started today. It happens every year. I think it’s been happening since around 2018 so this year is its fourth time, and it’s been positioned to build international investor confidence in South Africa and also position South Africa as a top investment destination .

Valdene Reddy, Head of Capital Markets at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, joins us for a little more detail. Valdene, thank you very much for joining the market update – always a pleasure to talk with you. I believe today was day 1. Can you give us an idea of ​​how things went?

VALDENE-REDDY: Hello Fifi. Thank you for having me on your show. Yes, it was another great session of the SA Investor Conference. This is actually the 10th edition of the SA Tomorrow Investor Conference, but previously it was focused on the US, and what we did last year was extend that reach to the UK , the Middle East and Singapore. This year, it went even further by including China, as the Chinese investor is a fairly large and growing part of the investor landscape globally.

Over 180 institutional investors have registered for the conference and over 215 attendees have logged in today. The conference began, opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa. He opened today’s session and reminded us of our government’s strategy in terms of pursuing sound macroeconomic fiscal policies and generally continuing to encourage the international investor community to support and invest in our country. .

We also heard an address from the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago. He took us through some of the Reserve Bank’s key initiatives in terms of positioning South Africa to better withstand global challenges.

There were some great panels between Daniel Mminele, Head of the Presidential Task Force on Climate Finance, André de Ruyter, CEO of Eskom, Portia Derby, CEO of Transnet – just to name a few of the representatives today. today. So we really kicked off into a strong session and performance.

FIFI PETERS: So the 10th time this happened. Often when we talk about the number 10 in terms of the history of South Africa, we talk about the ‘lost decade’, the 10 years from which we have come, where we have seen a marked slowdown in growth, a fall in business confidence and all the other unfortunate economic indicators that are rising, like unemployment and poverty.

How would you say the South Africa of tomorrow looks like today, compared to 10 years ago?

VALDENE-REDDY: It’s actually a very troubling time, and what we can show through this investors conference over the last decade is some of the cyclicality that we’ve been through and how South Africa South was quite deliberate. After Covid there were real extended commitments that we had to make; the pandemic has only exacerbated this need. So at this conference, it’s really an opportunity for us to showcase some of those initiatives and the progress that we’ve made, of economic reform as well as positioning for investment in our country.

What has also changed at this conference is [that] the times and the global economic situation are very different from what they were ten years ago. We now operate in a global environment where things like interest rates and inflation are even more vulnerable than they look like in South Africa. There is an overall risk of recession or overhang.

So, South Africa actually came out of the fundamentals pretty strong. We have had a commodity boom which has brought many benefits to South Africa and is rich in opportunity. So I think this continent has some of the turbulent times that we’ve come out of over the last decade, and some of the deliberate efforts that we’ve had in place for probably the last three or four years [which are] now coming to fruition, especially in times of a turbulent global economy.

FIFI PETERS: You are right. Much less turbulence, it seems, faces South Africa at the moment. We seem much less risky than other parts of the world. If you look to the left, you have the Ukraine crisis there with Russia, and Europe and the UK continue to ride out the Brexit overhang and what their new terms of trade look like. You even have the United States – relations with Asia and China which remain strained.

South Africa therefore seems much less risky, according to most experts. But we also have things that keep us from being heaven in terms of investment destination. You mentioned two of the people running the entities that seem to be holding us back – André de Ruyter from Eskom and Portia Derby from Transnet – not the people, but the entities; Eskom in terms of lack of electrical security at the moment, and Transnet in terms of lack of efficient ports. We are not exporting as much as we could because of Transnet’s inefficiencies.

What was the message shared by these particular people and perhaps even the demands of investors in terms of improving the state of Eskom and Transnet at this time?

VALDENE-REDDY: Absolutely. I think that is why this conference is so essential in order to come before the desperate and critical components of our economy, Eskom and Transnet, both, and give them an opportunity for investors to hear directly the conviction of the trajectory of change that awaits us all right now.

Regarding André de Ruyter and some of the comments, I think it was good enough for Eskom to show what their recent restructuring looked like and to responsibly move the market forward from where we are.

There have been a lot of reforms in the area of ​​energy, so it was really a priority for us, even at the governmental level where the ceiling was increased in terms of renewable energies, and that was part of the discussion of ‘today in terms of how South Africa is accelerating on issues like global warming, renewable energy projects, more stability for our public companies in terms of our own transitions.

Portia Derby explained how the entity is strengthening rail and port infrastructure, which is crucial for the economy.

She also talked about the recovery from previous mismanagement, and I think it’s really important to own it and talk to investors directly about it – and the impact of Covid and the floods as well on some of our own logistical and network problems. .

So there are still vulnerabilities. Network issues really come to a point in terms of issues we need to address, [which were] covered by even the Office of the President, through Anthony Costa [investment lead in the private office of the president], where they were really highlighted. These are challenges that we must meet if South Africa is to really mobilize its growth.

What was pretty good was that these key reps were available. They have been quite candid with investors.

Investors really want to know [about] accountability and progress, and how we deliver on execution. So I think the fact that we own the conversation and we’re pretty transparent about what South Africa has done in collaboration [doing]testifies to the commitments we have made.

FIFI PETERS: Sure. Valdene, I see this is going to be a busy week of conferences for you. You are also participating in the Moneyweb Better Investor Conference which starts tomorrow [Wednesday, 22 June]. Can you tell us a bit more about your role in it?

VALDENE-REDDY: Yes. Thanks. This is a good opportunity for us to talk. What we really wanted to do from this conversation was to highlight some of the trends we’re seeing in the market. [that] speak to a broad audience to showcase some of the key areas of interest to us as JSE, as well as the opportunity for investors to find ways to save and invest. So it’s really a different tone. It’s really more on a macro level and a general level to show how awesome our markets are, and to engage and create conversation around investment opportunities and awareness.

So I look forward to the turnout for that tomorrow, as well as the continued engagement of that in terms of better investor outreach.

FIFI PETERS: OK. We can’t wait to hear more about what the JSE has in store for us this year. But Valdene, we’ll leave it at that for now. Valdene Reddy is Head of Capital Markets at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

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