President Zuma meeting Mr Bill Gates

President Zuma has urged the international business community to “look towards Africa and invest in employment-creating growth”.  Zuma was addressing international businessmen, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, during his trip to the G-20 Summit in Cannes, South of France.

President Zuma meeting Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates

South Africa is the only country from the African continent in the G-20 (Group of Twenty), an inclusion that Zuma values. He said that the G20, which was established in 1999, is “an important forum for galvanising world leadership on pressing economic issues. That is why South Africa values its participation in the G20”.

Zuma said he hopes the leaders will emerge from the G20 summit “with a clear direction and firm commitments, both on short-term recovery and growth issues and on long-term developmental issues.”

President Zuma and other G20 Leaders at the G20 "Family" Photo Session

Referring to the Euro zone problems, he said “we believe that this current crisis should lead to a realisation that change is inevitable. Balanced growth is just as important as strong and sustainable growth.”

To attain this, he said there was a need to address the “root causes of imbalances in the global economy”.

“To this end, we need stronger commitments from large deficit and surplus countries to do a number of things.

“They must strengthen the fiscal policy environment. They must maintain appropriate monetary policies. They should refrain from protectionism. And lastly, they should support investment and enabling interventions in developing and low income countries.

President Zuma arrives at the Festival Place at G20 Summit for the Working Dinner hosted by French President Mr N Sarkozy in honour of the G20 Leaders

“This will contribute enormously to promoting development, poverty reduction and decent work.”

He said that “in many respects, the Least Developed Countries are innocent bystanders, who have been caught up in the economic turmoil” and urged the international business sector to invest in employment-creating growth in Africa.

The South African President announced that many African countries are already preparing their economies for growth, and took the opportunity to highlight South Africa’s agenda:

For example, in South Africa, we are putting in place our plans for growth through an ambitious New Growth Path framework.

We have identified new jobs drivers in a few areas other than our traditionally strong manufacturing and service sectors.

We are spending more than 800 billion rand in infrastructure over the next three years or so, prioritising roads, bridges, dams, electricity and water provision nationwide.

We are also encouraging more investment in agriculture, mining, tourism and the green economy.

We also look to the integration of the economies of Africa as providing opportunities.

We recently signed an agreement with 26 other African countries to create a free trade area that will cover more than half of Africa.

By June 2014, nearly 60% of the economy of Africa will be a single free trade area, covering the Southern African community, the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

The implementation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area requires two main additional ingredients – good infrastructure as well as integrated systems to allow the efficient flow of goods, people and investment.

We are working on both of these.

I trust that you are aware of the North-South Corridor project, a NEPAD project to increase the efficiency of the major North-South transport of the Southern African region.

I volunteered to act as political champion for this project when we discussed it in the African Union.

UN Convention on Climate Change in Durban

President Zuma also reminded the attendees about the forthcoming 17th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that will take place in Durban at the end of this month.

He said the key priorities South Africa hopes to address and make progress on are:

  1. to ensure the implementation of the decisions of the 16th conference of the parties in Cancun.
  2. to secure a firm agreement going forward on the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
  3. to define a more coherent approach to the challenge of adaptation and mitigation, especially for small island developing states and other vulnerable countries.
  4. to establish a clear commitment to the establishment and the funding of the Green Climate Fund.

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