Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: ARNOLD PRONTO
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: ARNOLD PRONTO

SEVEN cabinet ministers including Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will attend the annual World Economic Forum event in Davos, Switzerland, which begins on Wednesday and continues until Saturday.

They will be updating global business leaders on the government’s implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) as a way of stimulating South Africa’s lacklustre rate of economic growth.

The ministers attending will be National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Communications Minister Yunus Carrim, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel.

President Jacob Zuma recently told a gathering of businessmen, businesswomen and government leaders who would attend the WEF that the government was "busy factoring the NDP into the draft medium-term strategic framework that will be discussed by the cabinet that will be appointed after elections in its first lekgotla. In a few months, the plan will have been mainstreamed in the work of every government department."

Mr Gordhan said in a statement on Monday that the NDP provided "a strong platform for collaboration among business, government, labour and civil society and the transition to a faster-growing, more inclusive economy.

"The plan promotes enhanced competitiveness, expanded infrastructure, greater spatial efficiency in growing cities and accelerated rural development. It prioritises measures to build a capable, effective state that delivers services to citizens while encouraging business investment and growth."

Successfully implementing the plan would reduce the cost of living and of doing business, improve consumer and business confidence and promote private investment, higher growth and job creation.

Mr Gordhan said the WEF was taking place as growth was beginning to pick up in some parts of the world and when World Bank forecasts envisaged a possible acceleration in future. "At the same time fears about the likely negative impact of tapering by the US Fed remain elevated, especially among investors in financial markets."

The WEF will consist of more than 250 sessions under the overarching theme, "The reshaping of the world: consequences for society, politics and business", concentrating on economic, social, financial, environmental and technological trends.

Of particular interest to South Africa will be one focused on whether the Brics grouping is facing a midlife crisis.

"Growth rates for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa remain at half their pre-crisis levels, prompting concern that the golden age of emerging-market growth may be over. How can the Brics group recharge their respective growth models?" the programme asks.

An associated session will look at the growth potential of emerging economies and the macro policy and structural reforms that are required to promote it, and another will examine the global economic outlook.

Also of interest will be the session dealing with the future of monetary policy and what actions central banks should take to terminate the policies of monetary stimulus.