Zuma holds press briefing at WEF
President Jacob Zuma, led by WEF’s Head of Regional Strategies for Africa, Elsie Kanza, and accompanied by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, held the press briefing at WEF. Questioned by journalists on a number of issues including the Free State incident, an annoyed looking Zuma said: “You people don’t really understand what democracy is. Democracy gives people the right to debate and express themselves democratically.”
He added that he was not aware that people were unhappy about him being president of the country because he had been elected by the same people. “People elected me to lead this country and now you are telling me that the same people are now unhappy,” Zuma told one of the assembled media.
When asked about leaving office, Zuma said he was going to leave the office but not now.
Gigaba: No need to stress about growth economic transformation
Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, guaranteed investors that there was no need to be concerned about talks over inclusive growth and radical economic transformation.
Speaking to a group of media at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, Gigaba said government was on a drive to create new ownership patterns and to create opportunities for the SMME sector, agro-processers, the youth and economically marginalised black people.
“The matters that are being raised are about how do we change the structure of production in the economy, as well as the patterns of ownership to create new assets and new asset owners,” he said.
“Investors need not fear the discussions about whether we are implementing radical economic transformation or inclusive growth, what we are are talking about is industrialising the South African economy to change the structure of production to benefication to build SMMEs, agro-processing, bring young people into the economy, produce the township and the rural economy,” he said.
“I have listened to people talk about radical economic transformation and inclusive growth, they are talking about the same thing, they may not be talking about the same concept, but the essence of what they are talking about is actually the same,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gigaba, pressed for comment on the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, said he was tired of being asked the question and said there was “no chance in hell” it would succeed.
SA-Nigeria collaboration can reduce poverty
Collaboration between South Africa and Nigeria can reduce poverty in the continent. Young Global Leader and chairman of Massmart Holdings in SA, Kuseni Dlamini said with the cooperation between the countries, inter-continental trade can be increased by 20 percent.
He added that investment in small to medium term businesses was where growth can be created.
“We need to give these businesses access to credit and help them grow. It’s easy to look to big business but we will see more growth in this area. If South Africa and Nigeria collaborate the challenges facing Africa will be a problem of the past and we can become a first world continent in a generation,” he said.
His counterpart in Nigeria, Danladi Verheijen, also a Young Global Leader and co-founder and chief executive officer of Verod Capital Management said Nigeria had one of the fastest growing economies.
“At one point Nigeria was one of the world’s top consumers of champagne. We were a highly consumer driven market. South Africa can find growing markets in Nigeria and in turn Nigeria can find skilled labour from South Africa,” he said.
The panellists, which also included Haruki Hayashi, executive vice president and regional CEO of Mitsubishi Corporation, concurred that there should be greater investment in both countries to ensure their economies strenghtened for the sake of the continent.
Kenya endorses Hudama at WEF Africa
The Kenyan Government has provided a vote of confidence in the implementation of the Huduma Card in the country and its role in driving financial inclusion. The announcement was highlighted during the WEF Africa 2017 in Durban, and is in line with the events focus on showcasing how Africa is ensuring its citizens are empowered through inclusion.
Research done by the World Bank indicates that financial inclusion is progressing well in Kenya, where 75 percent of adults have an account – however, a core pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030 is improving the efficiency and transparency of public services and payments to bring even more Kenyans into the financial ecosystem. This is key to the sustainable growth of any economy.
Mastercard, as one of the official technology partners to Huduma, ensures that the card offers a secure and convenient way for citizens to transact. The company is driven to displace cash, and is committed to financially empowering 500 million people worldwide by 2020. The Huduma partnership forms a key part of the strategy in reaching this goal.
“The Huduma story in Kenya can be held up as a leading example across the rest of the continent of how technology, innovation and collaboration between public and private sector partners can be harnessed to implement flexible and safe payments that facilitate inclusive growth,” says Daniel Monehin, Matercard Division President and Financial Inclusion Lead for International Markets.
Continued collaboration between partners in both the public and private sector is key to implementing these large scale initiatives that aim to develop strong financial ecosystems. This is a core theme at WEF Africa, where sharing knowledge in creating a digital continent is seen as being vitally important.
Kenya is at the beginning of its journey with the implementation of the card, but already the potential of the prepaid card solution is evident. Mutuku reinforced that it is a journey, mentioning that in order to ensure the roll out is successful key implementation steps cannot be overlooked.
Digital transformation in Africa
Many African businesses are grappling with the challenges posed by digitalisation as fears mount of the “rise of the machine” and its consequent impact on jobs and growth. This is according to William Mzimba, Chief Executive of Accenture South Africa and Chairman of Accenture sub-Saharan Africa who is also at WEF Africa.
However, this myopic view of the future comes with a significant risk as it overlooks the real economic value that digitally driven industry initiatives will bring to growth, development, jobs and society at large. While research has generally been scarce on exactly what this means in rands and cents, the World Economic Forum launched the Digital Transformation Initiative (DTI) in 2015, in collaboration with Accenture, to maximize opportunities for businesses and society stemming from digital technologies.
Since then the DTI has assessed how digitalization in 13 major industries is transforming business and wider society. This work has brought us into direct contact with more than 1,000 executives, policy makers and experts, who have helped uncover some key themes for ensuring the value of digitalization is captured by both business and society.
Thanks to this initiative it is now possible to more adequately determine how these initiatives can make an extremely positive contribution over the next decade if harnessed early enough.