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Davos – How significant is it to South Africa?

The 45th World Economic Forum held is an annual event where the “Who’s Who” of the Political and Business elites of the Globe descend on a small city in the Alps called Davos.

It is an opportunity to meet rich and famous key decision makers and exchange ideas and business cards to attract attention towards investment opportunities across the globe as well as align towards global issues in an attempt to make the world a better place.

I wonder how much of what is debated and discussed actually translates into anything.

I also get a strong notion that there is a definite rank of importance placed on certain countries and global issues.

So what might be important to one country may not be very important to another.

Let's look at it this way...

If an alien came to earth for the first time with a spaceship full of cash to invest and he hovered over the globe looking at the various continents and countries, “Where do you think he would tend to go?”

USA produces 30% Europe 28%China and Australia around 10%

When he hovers over Africa he will see our country nestled at the bottom of the continent producing about 0,4% of world GDP. Not very enticing… in spite of our sunny climate and scenic destinations.

So, to convince him that South Africa would be a choice investment destination would be very hard sell. There are opportunities but at the same time our image is tarnished in key areas of politics, strikes, crime, corruption, unemployment and electricity.

So I get the idea that the delegations from South Africa have to work very hard in Davos to even get heard. Then once they bend an ear its uphill all the way to try and convince why one should readily invest here for the long term. There are reasons but in todays global economic distress investors are looking for solid structures to minimise the current risks.

Perhaps the real benefit in attending is learning how different countries are dealing with their problems and bring back practical working ideas that we could use here.

We also will realise how we can align ourselves to world issues which are currently, world terrorism and global in equality.

We have many things to get right in our economy and Davos is a place where I suppose we have to be seen in the hope of getting noticed by someone who would consider South Africa as an investment destination.

Read more from Paul Roelofse at www.investforlife.co.za