President Cyril Ramaphosa says government looks to companies like Ninety One to support initiatives like the Youth Employment Service, which provides young people with workplace experience, and the SA Youth.mobi network, which connects unemployed young people with training opportunities.
The President said that it was greatly encouraging that Ninety One has graduate and intern programmes that provide business mentoring for new entrants to the asset management industry.
“As responsible corporate citizens and as a proudly South African firm, we want Ninety One to be part of the national effort to create more jobs and to bring more young South Africans into the world of work,” he said.
The President was delivering a keynote address at the 30th Anniversary of a proudly South African assets management firm, Ninety One, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Wednesday.
The event was attended by leaders of the SA investment management industry, bankers, financial advisors, representatives of business, pension fund trustees and asset consultants.
President Ramaphosa encouraged that if there is an opportunity to align with existing interventions to give young people more workplace exposure, let us do so.
“These are just some of the ways in which this proud firm can continue to invest for a world of change – and thereby make a world of difference. As I have witnessed the growth of Ninety One, I have always been inspired by your optimism about South Africa and its prospects.
“Even as you continue to grow and expand, your feet remain firmly planted on South African soil,” the President said.
The President said that it was a great pleasure to celebrate this milestone with all the people who have been part of the Ninety One journey.
True to its founding ethos, the President said that Ninety One continues to invest for a world of change and continues to pursue change.
He said that it is a firm committment to transformation and gender equality.
“Ninety-One has signed the Women in Finance Charter, and, I understand, hopes to achieve a global target of 30% of women in senior management by 2023.
“It is truly commendable that half of the Board of Directors are women, and that in the 2020 reporting period Ninety One increased the number of women in senior management from 26% to 28% globally,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said that this says much about the firm’s vision that it recently joined the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative to support investing that is aligned with the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
“This 30-year journey has not been without its challenges and difficulties. Yet, Ninety One has persevered and made its mark on the domestic and international investment landscape, and will no doubt continue to do so well into the future,” he said.
The President said that government understands Ninety One’s vision and ambitions to be closely aligned with the national goals which is to improve the lives of all South Africans, to attract greater investment, and to grow and transform the economy so it benefits all people.
“He said that these goals are being pursued at a time when the South African economy, alongside the economies of many countries, is confronting strong headwinds.
“As a country, we are firmly focused on driving growth and creating employment for our people. The unemployment rate has reached astronomical levels,” he said.
President Ramaphosa noted that real GDP grew by 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021, taking the annual growth rate for 2021 to 4.9 percent.
He said that the annual increase in real GDP in 2021 was primarily led by higher economic activity in finance.
“This shows that our economy is recovering. But even as we expect 2.1 percent growth this year, it is far below the levels we need. It is not enough to turn the tide on unemployment and to lift millions of South Africans out of poverty.
“That is why in this year’s State of the Nation Address, I called for a new consensus for growth and employment,” the President said.
He reiterated that the country needs to deepen cooperation, build on progress in the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, and focus the collective capabilities on unlocking the potential of the economy and people.
Progress in implementing structural reforms
The President noted that there has been progress in the implementation of much-needed structural reforms in vital economic sectors, notably in energy generation.
He said that last week, government began the auction of high frequency communications spectrum, unlocking new spectrum for mobile telecoms for the first time in over a decade.
“We are improving operational efficiency in our ports and railways, streamlining and modernising visa application processes to attract skilled workers, and providing the necessary support for small businesses to expand and grow,” he said.
The President said that a specialised Unit in the Presidency will be dealing with red tape reduction to improve the business operating environment.
“Through the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan our national infrastructure build programme is proceeding apace.
“The Infrastructure Fund is preparing a pipeline of projects with an estimated value of R96 billion, with a number of catalytic projects expected to start construction this year,” he said.
He said government is working on strategies to harness the potential for new growth industries ranging from cannabis production to electric vehicles to green hydrogen.
He added that stakeholders have finalised new master plans for the steel industry, furniture and global business services as part of revitalising our manufacturing base.
Source: South African Government News Agency