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SA defends importance of World Economic Forum

Various critics have questioned the forum's purpose, calling it a talk shop of the rich and powerful.

Thousands of leaders from several spheres including business, government, academia and civil society have gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the 45th annual World Economic Forum. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

SWITZERLAND - South African delegates attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland have defended the importance of the global event.

Various critics have questioned the forum's purpose, calling it a talk shop of the rich and powerful.

Former President Nelson Mandela met with then president FW de Klerk in the forum's host city of Davos in 1992 to discuss a peaceful transition to democracy.

With more than 2,500 participants from over 140 countries attending, the summit will run until 24 January.

Brand South Africa chief executive Miller Matola says South Africa is still as relevant as when Mandela met with De Klerk in this very city 23-years-ago.

He says the country's voice is a crucial representation of the larger African continent.

More than 50 delegates from South Africa are attending the global forum, hoping to promote the country as a key area for foreign investment.