Tuesday, January 25, 2011

President Jacob Zuma to Lead South African Delegation to Davos Economic Summit

Zuma to lead SA delegation to Davos

January 25 2011 at 01:47pm

President Jacob Zuma is to lead the South African delegation to the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, from January 26 to 30, the Presidency said on Tuesday.

The theme for the 2011 meeting is “shared norms for the new reality”, reflecting the concern that, as the world becomes more complex and interconnected, it is also experiencing an erosion of common values, and that this undermines public trust in leadership, economic growth and political stability.

Within that context, the four central pillars of the 2011 meeting are: responding to the new reality; the economic outlook and policies for defining inclusive growth; supporting the G20 agenda; and building a risk-response network.

Zuma would use the attendance of the World Economic Forum to market the country, especially the drive to create jobs through attracting investments and boosting economic growth, the Presidency noted.

The president will host a dialogue with about 60 CEOs of international companies to discuss opportunities in SA, assisted by his ministerial delegation.

The World Economic Forum 2011 also provides an opportunity for the president to set the scene for SA's hosting of the 17th United Nations (UN) Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change, which will be held in Durban from November 28 to December 9 2011.

Zuma will join Mexican President Felipe Calderón in a session to discuss the lessons from the COP 15 conference that was held in 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the COP 16 conference that was held in Cancun, Mexico, and the expectations from the COP 17 conference in Durban. COP 17 will provide an opportunity for Africa to direct attention to the impact of climate change on the continent and the developing world.

Zuma will also meet with members of the UN secretary-general's high-level panel on global sustainability in Davos. The president co-chairs the panel with President Tarja Halonen of Finland.

The panel has a special focus on climate change as a sustainable development challenge, addressing its three pillars - economic, social and environmental. It also focuses on issues related to food security, energy and poverty eradication. The two co-chairs are preparing for a meeting of the panel that will take place in Cape Town on February 25.

SA's attendance of the World Economic Forum takes place just weeks after the invitation to SA to join the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The country has also recently returned to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member.

“Our membership of BRIC increases strategic co-operation among the emerging markets of the south, and indicates the change and new voice that is emerging globally. We are starting the year on a positive footing and look forward to more successes on the international front, which will contribute to our job-creation drive,” said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, SA's focal minister for the World Economic Forum and G20 forums.

The Davos meeting will lay the basis for the World Economic Forum on Africa, which will be held in SA in May. Under the thematic pillar of “Shaping Africa's Role in the New Reality”, the May meeting will explore how Africa can take on a leadership role in the new reality and guard against newly emerging global and regional risks.

The president will be accompanied by Gordhan, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and Energy Minister Dipuo Peters.

Zuma will depart for Switzerland today, and on January 28 will proceed to Addis Ababa to attend the African Union summit, leaving the ministers to continue with the World Economic Forum engagements. - I-Net Bridge

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