#WEF19: “We have the loss of nine years to make up,” SA’s President Ramaphosa

By Chris Bishop

If you listened to President Cyril Ramaphosa at Davos you would have slept soundly amid the snow of this ski resort in Switzerland in the belief that all was well in the South African economy.

Yes, Ramaphosa would have faced awkward questions over why his government is propping up loss making state enterprises, taking time to cut back government expenditure on items like the civil service and approaching the thorny issue of expropriation of land without compensation.

“We are casting our nets here and finding big fish,” says Ramaphosa, the master of the metaphor, at the press briefing at Davos Wednesday.

At the customary presidential dinner, in Davos, that night Ramaphosa, with microphone in hand, was even more effusive.

“When we see people here they ask us how we manage to get business, government and unions working together for the economy of our country,” says Ramaphosa.

“They say tell us what this magic that you have is. What I tell them is that there is a renewal and determination to make South Africa work. “

Ramaphosa also nodded to the fallow and corruption-haunted years of his predecessor, President Jacob Zuma, whom he took over from in February.

“We have the loss of nine years to make up,” Ramaphosa told a crowd of cabinet ministers and millionaires at the dinner.

Reaction to  Ramaphosa’s speech was positive among many here at Davos.

“You certainly have more political stability in your country than we do in ours,” says a New York-based billionaire.

Ramaphosa hopes this sentiment will help him catch big fish in the aftermath of the gathering at Davos that winds down on Friday.


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