By Koketso Mamabolo

This week, over 2 000 of the world’s prominent decision makers are gathered in the Swiss Alps for a week of discussion and planning on how the world is going to deal with the most pressing matters of our time. Davos is home to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting of world leaders, titans of industry, labour federations, NGOs, academics and religious leaders who have converged for conversations which could influence the global economy and determine the pace and approach to progress.

The theme for the 54th meeting is “Rebuilding Trust”, with sessions split into four areas which put a lens on the issues affecting us all:

  1. Achieving security and cooperation in a fractured world
  2. Creating growth and jobs for a new era
  3. Artificial intelligence as a driving force for the economy and society
  4. A long-term strategy for climate, nature and energy

“… the meeting aims to restore collective agency, and reinforce the fundamental principles of transparency, consistency and accountability among leaders,” says the World Economic Forum (WEF). This is especially important in a time where the geopolitical landscape has been impacted heavily by conflicts which have created negative sentiments across the board. The idea behind the meeting is to have “open and constructive dialogue between leaders of governments, business and civil society.

Attendees for this year’s meeting include the UN Secretary General, the MD of the IMF, President of the World Bank, the WTO, NATO, and more, who join prominent government officials as well as 200 members of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders, which in recent years has included an impressive cohort of young South African business leaders who are adding their voices to the global conversation.

The South African delegation is led by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel. Together with Brand SA and various private sector representatives from Old Mutual, SAB and Naspers, amongst others, the delegation includes ministers of key departments, with the Minister of Electricity and his drive to gauge the appetite for investment in the energy space being an important part of Team South Africa’s agenda.

The idea is to create stronger links with other states and multinational organisations, in an effort to find solutions to the challenges the country is facing, key among those being the logistics crisis, which has opened up opportunities for more private-public partnerships in ensuring the easy movement of goods.

Team SA’s messaging centres on seven key areas:

  1. Structural reforms through Operation Vulindlela
  2. Infrastructure investment
  3. Implementation of the Just Energy Transition (JET)
  4. Leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement
  5. Strengthening and reform of global institutional mechanisms
  6. Driving economic growth through technological development
  7. Presenting South Africa as a strategic partner in science, innovation and technology

In a statement leading up to the meeting, Brand SA stated: “South Africa will report on its progress in implementing economic reforms, promote the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, and report on its [sic] Just Energy Transition Investment Programme (JETIP). The country will also highlight how it intends to use the expanded Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa bloc (BRICS) and to drive development on the continent through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Follow the last two days on the WEF’s livestream:

For more on how the public and private sectors are partnering together for a better future, read Public Sector Leaders for the latest developments: