U.S.- South Africa Business Executive Virtual Roundtable
On Tuesday, November 10, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), in partnership with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) hosted the U.S.- South Africa Business and Investment Roundtable. During this high-level event His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa engaged with senior U.S. private sector executives. This virtual session was a prelude to the third edition of the South African Investment Conference scheduled for 17-18. November 2020. The U.S.- South Africa Business and Investment Roundtable highlighted South Africa’s economic recovery coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as business and investment opportunities.
The session, moderated by Dr. Witney Schneidman, Senior Advisor for Africa for Covington & Burling, started with H.E. Nomaindiya Mfeketo, South African Ambassador to the United States, welcoming His Excellency President Ramaphosa and introduced BCIU President and CEO Peter Tichansky for his welcome remarks. In addition, CCA President and CEO Florizelle Liser and Scott Eisner, President, U.S.-Africa Business Center each spoke briefly before PepsiCo. CEO of Africa, Middle East and Asia, Eugene WIllemsen introduced Hon. President Ramaphosa.
President Ramaphosa highlighted the vital mutually advantageous trade and investment relationship between the United States and South Africa. He also described the efforts of the South African government in creating an environment conducive to economic growth and development. He said, “We have been working steadily and steadfastly to create an enabling environment for both foreign and local companies to thrive in our market. We are focusing on key reforms in the energy, telecommunication, and logistics industry to improve the competitiveness of our economy.”
President Ramaphosa then discussed South Africa’s economic recovery plan to combat the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan has four priority intervention areas: mass infrastructure building, expanding energy generation, creating an employment stimulus program, and accelerating industrialization through local production. Since the plan’s launch, the South African government has been working assiduously on its implementation to expand South Africa’s economy and create advantageous business opportunities for both domestic and foreign investors.
In addition to economic growth, President Ramaphosa also stressed the importance of healthcare expansion and providing universal healthcare for all South Africans. He noted the government’s desire to work with private sector stakeholders to manage widespread disease and welcomed the continued involvement of key healthcare stakeholders as well as critical members from other key industries.
President Ramaphosa further discussed the development of South Africa’s other industries, such as energy, and the key role the private sector plays in their advancement. In her remarks, H.E. Lana Marks, United States Ambassador to South Africa expressed strong support for South Africa’s plans for economic recovery. She stated, “I strongly believe this cooperation and collaboration will build not only prosperity in both our countries but will also create a lasting partnership between us.” The session concluded with Stanley Bergman, CEO Henry Schein, applauding the roundtable discussion and encouraging the engagement of U.S. and South African business and investment.
The U.S.-South Africa Business and Investment Roundtable was generously sponsored by Henry Schein, PepsiCo, AB InBev, Covington & Burling, Digital Learning Network, Proctor & Gamble, and Varian Oncology Systems.