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Will Ramaphosa beat last year’s R300bn investment commitments?

This year's investment conference is set to get under way in Sandton on Tuesday evening.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing an uphill battle to beat last year's investment amount achieved at his inaugural investment conference.

This year's investment conference is set to get under way in Sandton on Tuesday evening.

R300 billion - that's the staggering amount of commitments that Ramaphosa's first investment conference was able to attract in 2018.

The attendance by Alibaba boss Jack Ma also set the bar high. But can South Africa maintain that standard or beat it this year?

Development economist Ndumiso Hadebe said investments that were required to turn the economy around such as manufacturing also require stability from essential service providers such as Eskom and this had not yet been achieved.

Hadebe thinks this year, it won't be easy.

“It will be a difficult task for the president to convince investors because these investments are not only in financial markets, but they are fixed investments, like manufacturing, where you need to buy machinery and employ more people who would need to demonstrate commitment in the long term.”

But Hadebe said all was not lost if the stability of state-owned entities like Eskom were addressed.

"We saw the impact that the lack of power had in the first quarter GDP numbers of this year when we contracted 3.1% but of course, when electrical power was much more stable, we saw an equitable improvement in the second quarter of this year.”

He said how Ramaphosa would deal with reforms, including the unbundling and financing of Eskom, would be key in convincing more investors to come to South Africa.