Xenophobic attacks to dominate discussion at South Africa World Economic Forum Africa

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EYEAFRICA TV: Cape Town, South Africa: The recent increased xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa that led to the killing of more than ten people is expected to be in the center of discussion at the World Economic Forum Africa that the country will be hosting in Cape Town, starting today.

A spokesperson from the forum confirmed that the governments of Malawi and Rwanda will not be attending the summit. This week, leaders from 28 African countries are expected to converge in Cape Town for the summit where several issues relating to their economies will be discussed.

On the sidelines of a briefing on Wednesday, head of strategic communications and member of the WEF executive committee, Olivier Cann confirmed that Malawi and Rwanda are not attending the forum.

Statistics South Africa earlier released figures that the South African economy grew by 3.1 per cent from April to June 2019, which President Cyril Ramaphosa described as a promising sign of improved economic performance.

The Stats SA figures come on the eve of South Africa’s hosting of the World Economic Forum Africa in Cape Town.

President Ramaphosa said: “We are delighted with the announcement that economic performance was much better (in Quarter 2) than in the earlier quarter.”

There have been rumors that the African countries, including the DRC, are not attending in protest against the xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg this week. But Mr. Cann said the countries withdrew before the attacks, so it can be assumed the withdrawals are linked to other reasons.

Shops owned by citizens from other countries have been looted in recent days, while truck drivers from neighboring countries have also been targeted.

African leaders and the African Union Commission have condemned the xenophobic attacks, calling for the application of immediate actions to curb the mishap. Ghanaian authorities have urged the South African government to take necessary action that would guarantee harmonious co-existence between citizens of the rainbow nation and African residents in the country.

“This is good news that is sorely needed, as we will be talking more and more about opportunities for South Africa, having adopted the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, which is due to be a major boost for the economic fortunes of our country across a number of sectors,” Mr. Ramaphosa said of the Stats SA release.

The President said South Africa would leverage the free trade agreement that provides access to a market with a population of 1.2 billion people, to “catapult various sectors of our economy to higher levels of growth.”

President Ramaphosa said South Africa’s hosting of WEF Africa was a platform for a “much broader, Africa-centric look at economic growth beyond our own shores, and how, through trade and investment, we can take up various opportunities that lie ahead”.

He also invited South Africans to join in the discussion around the economic policy paper published recently by the National Treasury. He said all perspectives and comments on the paper would be welcomed- and will enrich the debate around the appropriate economic strategy South Africa should be pursuing in the current climate.

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