My heart bleeds for poor Tito.
Uncle Cyril dropped a piping hot potato in his lap when he made him the leader of the South African contingent in Davos.
Of course, Uncle Cyril did the wise thing to devote his attention to more pressing matters.
We need him to fix Eskom – even if it’s just a temporary repair with sticky tape and a wire coat hanger. And the UK-Africa Summit in London also represented real post-Brexit investment possibilities.
As I understand it, the World Economic Forum is nothing more than a high-level pick-up joint where investors and governments court each other. Which is a good idea if pick-up joints and seedy things such as business deals tickle your fancy.
But what’s Tito going to tell investors? He reminds me of the shy, nerdy girl at the matric dance. And no amount of lipstick is going to charm enough young prospective lovers to keep Tito dancing all night.
I’ve got a lot of respect for our finance minister. He’s a clear-thinking, rational man when it comes to the economy. But he’s got a difficult product to sell.
If I was an investor, I would want to know why I should risk investing my clients’ money in sunny South Africa. Particularly with the little matters of reliable electricity and the culture of corruption in the civil service and the private sector.
Tito has a lot of credibility abroad, but I’m afraid SA doesn’t.
In 1992, Madiba was invited to address the world’s economic elite at Davos. He predicted an economic utopia in SA with a political and social climate which would ensure business confidence and create the possibility of long-term investment commitments. And we were well on our way to such an economic paradise.
But that economy is far removed from the post-Zuma SA in which we live. Investment has dried up and we are using a prohibitively large portion of the little money which is left after we have serviced our debt to keep creaking state-owned entities afloat.
Tito will have to be able to give a good explanation if he wants to convince investors that South Africa is the best destination for their funds.
Best of luck, Tito. You’ll need it.
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