South Africa Takes Center Stage at WEF 2023: Focusing on the "S" of the ESGs

By Lindelwa Masuku

As leaders from around the world gather for the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2023 16-20 January, South Africa is set to take center stage with a delegation that includes Nomzamo Mbatha as host, Chef Wandile Mabaso showcasing South African cuisine, Basetsana Kumalo as a keynote speaker, and performances from MiCasa and The Soil. 

The theme for this year's meeting, 'Cooperation in a Fragmented World,' is particularly relevant for a country like South Africa, which is working to position itself as a competitive business destination.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. 

Founded in 1971, South Africa’s participation at the Annual Meeting dates back to 2009. 

A South African delegation will travel to Switzerland to participate in and add the country's voice to discussions about global issues with the overall aim of positioning the country as a competitive business destination.

As we navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever to focus on the "S" of the ESGs, the environmental, social and governance issues. The communication approach for Team South Africa at WEF is to select multi-sectoral thought leaders from the private and public sector to drive the messaging, in line with the WEF theme. 

Basetsana Kumalo will be discussing the critical importance of focusing on the "S" elements of the ESGs and asking the question: 

"How can we fix the world inequalities without focusing on the "S" elements of the ESGs? We know business can be a force for good, but who's making an impact?'

Watch live today at 10:00-11:00 SAST 

The participation of South Africa at WEF is motivated by its drive to improve confidence in the country's economy and achieve balanced, sustainable, and inclusive growth. 

Team SA will focus on key issues such as load shedding, the country's fiscal strategy, and the impact of corruption on the economy while also highlighting the country's progress in implementing its economic reconstruction and recovery plan.

South Africa is committed to its five-year investment target of over R1 trillion ($100 billion) and plans to have more than 1,000 international companies operating and investing in the country by 2025. 

The WEF Annual Meeting is an opportunity for South Africa to showcase its capabilities, strategic importance in the region, and commitment to fighting crime and corruption, positioning the country as a globally relevant player and partner in trade and investment.

As you read through this article, some important questions to consider are: How can business be a force for good in addressing environmental, social, and governance issues? 

How can South Africa position itself as a competitive business destination while also addressing inequalities? 

What role can leaders from the private and public sector play in driving change and making an impact?

An update of the WEF Annual Meeting proceedings are soon to follow. 

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