Davos Diary: SA more popular; New Venezuelan “leader” recognised; Ramaphosa off-piste again

By Alec Hogg

Davos 2019 – this coverage of the global conversation on change is brought to you by BrightRock, the first ever needs matched life insurance that changes as your life changes.

It’s Thursday, January 24th, from Davos. I’m Alec Hogg.

SA’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced in Davos yesterday that the country would hold a second investment conference this year to progress the plan to raise $100bn in new fixed investment in five-years. He said the country is on track to achieve this audacious target with a total of $20bn committed in the year after the project was launched. Ramaphosa says he has been encouraged by the response from potential investors that he’s met at the WEF meeting here, with a number of them informing him that they intended to significantly increase their initial obligations. He holds an investment seminar over breakfast this morning, before flying back to SA tonight and then onto India, where he is the guest of honour in the 70th birthday celebrations.

Well, the first day of Davos this year was dedicated to global environmental threats. On Wednesday, challenges posed by the mushrooming of Artificial Intelligence (AI) took over at the top of the Davos agenda. Among the numerous focus points is the launch of a WEF initiative aimed at civil society to prepare for and respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The three-year initiative is called ‘Preparing civil society for the 4IR,’ what else, and is aimed at assisting the 350m people who work for NGOs around the world.

In a brief statement in Davos last night, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia have recognised the Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, as interim president, following an earlier declaration, tweeted of course by US president, Donald Trump. Venezuela’s leader, Nicolas Maduro’s rule of the country has drawn increasing attention as was back in the headlines as the world watched the youthful Guaidó, newly elected head of the National Congress being sworn in as the country’s leader. He was cheered by thousands of anti-government protestors who have, once again, taken to the streets. Guaidó took the oath of office holding the country’s constitution in his left hand. The event has special significance as it was done on a national holiday, to celebrate the forcing from office of Venezuela’s last dictator, some 61 years ago. When I asked former Venezuelan minister of industry, Moisés Naím, who is here in Davos and now a well-known author for comment on how he views what is happening in his homeland. His answer was brief, “I have no words.”

And ending on a South African note president, Cyril Ramaphosa, delivered another inspiring and unscripted speech to the annual Brand SA dinner in Davos last night. He reiterated the need for the country to build on a unique ability it has to put all of the key parties around the same table, government, business, labour and civil society so that they can debate matters of importance. Ramaphosa said, doing so was especially important in the light of challenges posed by the 4IR to traditional job creation programs.

This has been your BizNews Flash Briefing, until the next time, cheerio.

Davos 2019 – this coverage of the global conversation on change is brought to you by BrightRock, the first ever needs matched life insurance that changes as your life changes.

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