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  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa greets African National Congress supporters outside the party headquarters.

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa greets African National Congress supporters outside the party headquarters. | Photo: EFE

Published 16 May 2019

Ramaphosa's focus on growing the economy has led him to show a willingness to "work with anyone who is willing to take the country forward." 

South Africa's recently re-elected president, and member of the African National Congress (ANC), Cyril Ramaphosa's initiatives to fulfill his campaign promises of boosting the economy and ending corruption are raising eyebrows as he strengthens ties with the global investment banking company Goldman Sachs. 

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Ramaphosa's focus on growing the economy has led him to show a willingness to "work with anyone who is willing to take the country forward." The president's growth initiatives include the restructuring of 'too big to fail' state-owned entities, such as Eskom and Transnet.

Goldman Sachs has maintained a presence in South Africa for about two decades and has been publicly supportive of the ANC dating back before the recent elections.

Shortly after the Ramaphosa took office, the company hosted an investment conference in which the president was the main speaker. At the conference, Goldman Sachs announced its plans to expand South African investment operations to include fixed income products and government securities to corporate and institutional investors.  

In 2017, the investment bank expressed confidence in Ramaphosa's chances of ascending to the presidency, and in preparation, applied for a South African banking license which would assure active participation in South Africa's foreign exchange and capital markets. 

Covertly, Ramaphosa has boasted of "business confidence among South African confidence," adding that "some financial institutions have identified South Africa as one of the hot emerging markets."

Both Goldman Sachs and the ANC refer to the partnership between the government and business as "a positive move for South Africa."

Lumkile Mondi, a senior lecturer at the Wits School of Economics, acknowledges the great potential for economic growth, but reminds Ramaphosa of his need to "manage this carefully."

The educator stressed that, in South Africa's "post-State-Capture" environment, such strong ties between government and business will face much more scrutiny. 

Ramaphosa's campaign promises to address five key areas to aid development: corruption, employment, cabinet downsizing, land redistribution, and poverty and inequality. 

The New York-based Goldman Sachs, which received a multibillion-dollar injection from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program fund in 2008, has also recently applied for licence in Japan.

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