PRETORIA– President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South African ambassadors to lead the investment drive in the countries where they are posted.

This Heads of Mission conference therefore takes place at an important moment, for it is you, our diplomats, who must play a pivotal role in driving the message that South Africa is open for business, said Ramaphosa.

The Heads of Mission conference, hosted by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) kicked off on Monday and will wrap up on Thursday in Pretoria.

It is being held under the theme ‘A New Dawn: Inclusiveness of South Africa’s foreign policy which aims to promote a better South Africa, Africa and world’.

The biennial conference brings together the heads of South Africa’s diplomatic missions abroad to assess national, regional, continental and global trends and dynamics, and to determine a strategy to be implemented in line with South Africa’s foreign policy vision and mission.

The conference also serves as a platform for South Africa’s diplomats to be briefed about progress on government’s programmes and plans.

Ramaphosa’s call to ambassadors to rally investors in their designated countries comes as South Africa gears up for the Investment Conference, which kicks off on Thursday.

It is our missions abroad that are leading our economic diplomacy, that need to ensure that the outcomes of the conference are conveyed around the world, and that are responsible for assisting the expansion of trade and investment links with partner countries, said Ramaphosa.

The President punted investment from all corners of the globe to the South African economy as the key to addressing the country’s triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

To address these challenges, President Ramaphosa said regaining public and investor trust holds the key to unlock private capital and promote investment.

With favourable demographics, high productivity potential and ideal positioning as a springboard into the rest of Africa, South Africa is seen as an attractive destination for growth-seeking investors.

Ranked 61 out of 147 in the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report and as the continent’s second biggest economy, Ramaphosa said South Africa offers investors the stability of a well-regulated and developed country.

Our banking system is solid, well capitalised, well-regulated and internationally respected.

There is no doubt that we have a very solid base to work from, said the President.

Ramaphosa also thanked the ambassadors for their campaign efforts and role in ensuring that South Africa clenches the non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.

The President said South Africa will use its position at the UNSC to encourage greater cooperation and collaboration to ensure a common approach to ending conflict on the continent.

We will need to continue to be engaged with the ongoing challenges in Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Mali and Libya, said the President.

This stance is also informed by the African Union’s peace and security architecture, which recognises preventive diplomacy as central to eradicating conflicts on the continent.

We will use our term in the UN Security Council to highlight and advance the cause of the Palestinian and Saharawi peoples. Peace and security in Africa is inextricably linked to its economic and social development, said President Ramaphosa.