(DAVOS) Leaden skies sent forth a blizzard over the 48th gathering of the World Economic Forum in the ski-resort of Davos in Switzerland, the highest and surely the coldest spot in Europe, where South African delegates hope to shed light on the future of their national power generator Eskom.
Delegates arriving at the gathering of thousands of top world business names plus heads of state and ministers from 70 countries said it was the worst weather they had seen for years and snowdrifts saw traffic into Davos held up for hours.
A large and strong South African delegation will be at Davos – at least seven ministers including Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. They will be led by President-elect Cyril Ramaphosa who is on a mission to clean up and beef up the country’s wavering economy. Other South African names including billionaire Patrice Motsepe and Bonang Mohale the head of Business Leadership South Africa are also there.
“Eskom is teetering on the brink.The delegation wants to talk to its investors in Davos to try to persuade them not to pull their money out so the government has time to fix it,” says one South African insider on the road to Davos.
Ramaphosa will also be looking to convince investors, amid the snowflakes, that South Africa is open for business and that he is serious about cleaning up corruption. In a pre-Davos breakfast in Johannesburg on Thursday he said he wanted the National Prosecuting Authority to move faster in tackling cases. He applauded the freezing of assets of people under question, like the Gupta family, but wanted more.
“We want people doing wrong things to be dealt with,” Ramaphosa said.
One of the highlights of the week will be the visit of Donald Trump who is expected to fly in on Friday. It is likely to add spice to the gathering as Trump has long dismissed the well meaning economic globalists of Davos.
African delegates could also ponder giving Trump a cold welcome to a cold Swiss mountain side in response to the US president’s recent disparaging remarks about Africa.
“Many of us will be boycotting your address to delegates at Davos in protest against your divisive comments and continued failure to unequivocally apologise,”wrote Mohale angrily in the South African newspapers.
Many other members of the African delegations are likely to agree, but are equally unlikely to prise an apology out of Trump. .
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