2 minute read
31 Aug 2014
4:05 pm

Diplomats must support economy – Zuma

South African ambassadors and high commissioners across the world should support all initiatives that promote the country's economy, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

“We must put all our efforts into promoting a positive environment for economic growth and development if we are to break the back of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” Zuma said.

“We want to open more opportunities abroad for our goods and services and also want to attract more investment towards our country.”

He was speaking at the Heads of Mission Conference in Pretoria, where various ministers, ambassadors and commissioners were in attendance.

Zuma told the conference the country’s economy would be the priority for the next five years, as a growth target of five percent was set for 2019.

“Such a target would enable us to get more South Africans employed.”

Given the global economic climate, Zuma admitted that the target would not be easy to reach, but said that government, business, labour and society could use all the expertise and resources to meet the goal.

“Because our country’s economy is inextricably linked to the global economy, we too were affected but did manage to overcome some hurdles.”

In particular, he said the country’s heads of missions “should prepare themselves for vigorous marketing and trade promotion over the next five years.

“As Heads of Mission your role is to ensure that South Africa becomes a preferred destination for any prospective tourist and also for business.”

Zuma said the heads of missions should also support initiatives that would enable South Africa to be showcased abroad, and to seek business for the country.

“Heads of Missions will need to work closely with other government departments, business and other players to build a strong and competitive identity for South Africa internationally.”

Zuma said the adoption of a more positive and optimistic attitude would make the economic target easier to be reached.

“Nothing is impossible if we work together, putting our country first.”

– Sapa