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22nd Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit
Session on ?The Wall Street Project Business Luncheon?
Reverend Jesse. L. Jackson, President & Founder of Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Hon Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa
Deputy Minister of Labour of the Republic of South Africa
(AH ! DILIZINTABA) and Mrs Holomisa
Honorable Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee
Captains of Industry
Leaders of Government, Business & Labour
Ladies and gentlemen
I wish to extend very warm greetings, on behalf of the people and the Government of South African, on whose behalf, I stand before you.
The Rainbow, remains one of the most natural wonders of the world.
Scientists allude, that it is formed from the process of refraction; which relies on the sun rays to shine through the moisture from the rain drops.
This then means that, a rainbow can only be formed, from the power of the sun and the storm.
President Nelson Mandela, calls Africa and her people, a rainbow nation, not only because of the priviledge in her diversity; but because she managed to shine through the storms of colonialism, subjugation and oppression.
And like the rainbow, Africa stands as a natural wonder of the world; too impossible to reach the end of her potential and growth.
With the above, allow me to uphold my gratitude to you Reverend Jackson, alongside your ambassadors; for a strategic vision, that you chose to carry.
In its bareness, you clothed it.
In its emptiness, you filled it up.
In a state of confusion, you provided clarity.
And in its vulnerability, you certainly defended this vision.
It is an honour to Thank you, for standing with the people of South Africa; fighting against the brutality, of the apartheid regime; and for the continued support, through- out the struggle.
As the recipients of the ?Companions of O.R Tambo Award?; the highest award recognized by the South African government for a foreign national; Reverend Jackson and Congresswoman Maxine Waters- epitomize the values of Ubuntu.
That indeed a person, is bettered by the deeds of others.
It is evident and with certainty, that their extensive efforts, to help end apartheid; have improved the lives of our people.
Today more than 4.5 million houses have been built for the poor. More than 80% of our people have access to clean water. More than 80% of our people have now access to electricity. We have financed over 1.5 million graduates through universities. 17.5 million people are getting social grants. The ANC has been able to ensure 50/50 representation of woman in legislatures and in cabinet. A lot has been achieved and a lot still needs to be done. This is because of the support you gave us.
When Reverend Jesse Jackson contested Ronald Reagan in 1984 for the office of president of the US, that gave us hope that our own freedom was around the corner, and indeed it happened.
Throughout the 1980s, Congresswoman Waters, arranged marches and rallies; to protest against the regime in South Africa.
Both Reverend Jackson and Congresswoman Waters, led sit-ins at the U.S based South African Missions. Arrested for protesting against the regime, we witnessed the sacrifice of their own freedom.
Furthermore, we are honoured, that Congresswoman Waters, continues to support South Africa, in addressing socio-economic disparities, such as the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The contribution of Congress, through The President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PERFAR), persists to be an initiative, of strategic value to the government of South Africa.
Hon Waters, I certainly wish you well, in your new appointment; as chair of the House Financial Services Committee.
Your affirmation is a victory for the struggles of women across the world. Affirmation of women must not be an exception but an acceptable norm in our society.
It was also no coincidence, that the founder of the African National Congress, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, studied at the Columbia University.
As a result, strong relations were nurtured, with W.E.B. Du Bois and Alain Locke, which played a significant role, in his participation towards the Harlem Renaissance.
In advancing the movement, Chief Albert Luthuli and Dr Martin Luther King Jr. also exchanged letters from Prison and House Arrest. And both, certainly drew from the same well of wisdom. Dr King often supported that, ?It is not about the colour of our skin but it is about the content of our character?. Our currency to prosperity and excellence, as people of colour, is accepting our own content; and further protecting it.
Therefore, Relations between our countries are historic; demonstrating a collective resolve to address a common developmental agenda.
In the post-Apartheid era, the United States remains an important trade partner to South Africa.
The US Congress, extended market access, for duty-free products, from sub-Saharan Africa into the United States.
This transpired through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which enabled an increase in the trade of value added goods.
Furthermore, the U.S is South Africa?s second largest export destination, and third source of imports for our country.
As we contest for liberty and economic empowerment, the South African government, has channeled its mandate towards, developing black pioneers; engaged in industrial sectors.
This has ensured access to lucrative markets and providing a platform for black African innovation to thrive.
However, alliances must be fortified, to further deliberate on growth strategies, continental integration and the presence of African goods and services; in global markets, such as the U.S.
As the South African government, we are able to facilitate, inward buying and investment missions, for companies seeking to source value added manufactured goods and services.
This also extends itself to investments made, in productive sectors of the economy.
It is with pride, that we will be welcoming an International Trade Mission from the United States, to South Africa, in the month of August 2019.
The South African government is ready to provide assistance, in making the Mission a success; as it happened 25 years ago, when President Mandela and Senator Ted Kennedy coordinated the same mission.
In advancing these missions, we stand on the shoulders of Madiba, who believed that a ?winner is a dreamer who never gives up?.
Therefore, I am well affirmed that the Mission to be undertaken, will equally foster strong relations and partnerships, between entrepreneurs in both countries.
To encourage inclusive growth across all spectrums, our Black Industrialists program, is deliberate in the advocacy of black participation, in the mainstream economy.
Through this, the BI incentive supports companies, pursuing productive sectors of the economy.
As a champion of the program, we actively engage, partnerships that empower black entities.
I therefore urge minority groups, women and youth; to leverage on the opportunities available.
On the investment frontier, 800 US based companies have invested in South Africa; also using it as a corridor, into the African continent.
Furthermore, South African companies also have a footprint in the United States.
The President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa; hosted the inaugural International Investment Conference in October 2018.
Investment pledges, to the value of R 300 billion ($22 billion dollars), were made by local and global companies from America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The main investment target, as set by the President, is R 1,3 trillion (US$100 billion).
This is aimed, towards sectors such as oil and gas, agriculture and agro-processing; financial and business process service, the ocean economy, tourism, and other industrial sectors.
Additionally, South Africa continues to affirm, its commitment to regional and continental trade within Africa.
Once the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, is operational.
Investors and business, will have access, to a market of over 1.2 billion people; with a GDP of approximately $3.3 trillion.
This agreement will further permits the free movement of goods and services, within the continent.
Inferred from the aforementioned, South Africa provides a suite of incentives, to companies investing in priority sectors.
The Invest SA, is a One-Stop Shop service, is geared towards providing investors with services to fast-track projects, further assisting them with information, facilitation and aftercare.
Thus, through the One Stop Shop agency; government aims to reduce red tape in areas concerning:
Visa and Permit applications
And other applicable services
Thus, government offers to make investments in South Africa, as seamless, as possible; eliminating any regulatory burdens involved.
Our country, remains the most industrialized and diversified economy in Africa; as per global recognition.
It is for this reason, that we are a location of choice, for multinational corporations; who also desire favourable access to global markets.
Therefore, I invite companies that are present, to heed to President Ramaphosa?s call for investment.
As a coalition, let us strive to alleviate the waves of discontent, pulsing through our continents.
Let us strive to ensure that poverty can no longer be our language of struggle.
Let us strive to ensure that inequality should no longer be a wage for war.
Let us strive for a society where unemployment can no longer serve as a portion, for skilled and gifted nations.
Let us all continue to believe in the dream of Dr Martin Luther King jr;
The one where the struggle of youth, is not access to education; but selecting an institution of choice.
Where the struggle of a family, is not the fight for bread, but rather one for wealth creation.
Where promotion and growth is not based on being black or white, but rather on merit.
Let us continue to believe in this dream; that promises all men:
?the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?.
In these renowned words of Dr King, let us lament to his thoughts, that, we as a collective; must find the will to cash in this cheque- for indeed, the bank of justice cannot afford to have insufficient funds?; not now and certainly not ever.
Having had your dreams, hopes, frustrations and aspirations which as South Africans we share.
I want to leave you with the words of a song that was written for the South African youth by Libe Siffre, when he saw a white South African soldier shooting and killing a black youth in 1985. These words are relevant to us all as they were relevant then.
The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me, you can decide
To turn your face away
No matter 'cause there's
Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There's something inside so strong
The more you refuse to hear my voice
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that's mine
My light will shine so brightly it will blind you
Something inside so strong, strong
I know that I can make it
May the Rainbow Push Coalition; continue to have something inside so strong.
I thank you!