Half The African Delegation To World Economic Forum Is From South Africa

Written by Dana Sanchez

Nearly half the 115 delegates attending next week’s World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, are from South Africa, BusinessTech reports.

South African President Jacob Zuma and seven other government officials are attending, along with 10 members of government-run organizations, 14 finance and investment representatives, 14 business leaders, four media representatives and others.

That’s more than attended in 2015 — 51 South African including eight government officials. In 2014, 40 South African delegates attended including 10 government officials.

The WEF’s annual meeting at the Swiss mountain resort of Davos from Jan. 20-23, will convene thousands of business, finance and government leaders from around the world.

They’ll all be selling something.

Essentially, the World Economic Forum is a conference with panel discussions and speeches and one-on-one on-stage interviews — the sort of things you’d find at a normal conference, TheTelegraph reported.

But behind the scenes there are more meetings between government and business leaders discussing the latest crises and other things that often go unreported.

Each year there are official themes — this year it’s the fourth industrial revolution, global growth and commodity prices. This year, the oil markets, Chinese slowdown and global downturn are likely hot topics.

“But in reality those topics tend to get overshadowed by the people who attend,” according to TheTelegraph.

Kingsley Makhubela, CEO of Brand SA, will lead the South African delegation, EyewitnessNews reported. Brand SA is responsible for promoting South Africa, and developing a marketing and communication strategy for South Africa.

The delegation will have to come up with a coordinated message “that we will go and sell in Davos because Davos is all about selling countries,” Makhubela said. “There you compete with others who are selling their own country. There are key messages that we are working on.”

These messages will highlight advancement in several key areas to lure investment to South Africa including energy, infrastructure and education, he said.

Zuma will be accompanied by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan; Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, and other ministers, BusinessTech reported.

CEOs and leaders going to Davos from some of South Africa’s largest companies and financial institutions include Naspers Chairman Koos Bekker; Barclays Africa CEO Maria Ramos; Nedbank CEO Mike Brown; billionaire Patrice Mostsepe, chairman of African Rainbow Minerals; and Iqbal Surve, executive chairman Sekunjalo Holdings.

South Africans are scrutinizing the list of Davos attendees. It costs between $20,000 and $50,000 per delegate to attend, according to BusinessTech. The bill for sending eight government officials to Davos could be as high as $393,000.

You can see the full list of South Africans attending World Economic Forum here. For a list of everyone attending, check out this Quartz report.