The Presidency says President Jacob Zuma’s interactive session with captains of industry at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos has been productive.
“President Jacob Zuma and his ministerial delegation had a fruitful interactive session with captains of commerce and industry in Davos, Switzerland, during the annual Business Interaction Group meeting forming part of the WEF,” said the Presidency on Friday.
In his briefing to the business sector, the president said the National Development Plan provided a helpful guide to business people as it outlined the direction the country would take until 2030.
He outlined the successes and challenges South Africa faces, and mentioned key interventions to boost the economy and inclusive growth such as infrastructure development.
“We have a massive infrastructure development programme so that we can expand our infrastructure for economic development and also to improve people’s lives,” he said.
The country invests in three types of infrastructure. The first is core economic infrastructure that businesses need such as energy, transport and water.
The second is investment in what is called ‘soft infrastructure’, namely, through building new schools, two new universities and 12 new Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) campuses.
The third is social infrastructure such as sanitation, health facilities and household energy through, among others, solar water heaters, so that local communities can have improved lives and that they can be part of the benefits of a democracy.
The global business leaders, most of whom already have investments in South Africa, asked various questions including plans for broadband, infrastructure, funding for science and education, what South Africa is doing to promote skills development – especially technical skills such as engineering – and labour relations in South Africa, black economic empowerment and the challenges of youth unemployment.
Responding to a question on what keeps him awake at night, President Zuma said it was “how to change the quality of life of the people, how we can secure employment and deal with inequality”.