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Absa Chief Executive Officer Maria Ramos is betting that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is on the right track


Absa’s chief executive officer, Maria Ramos, relies on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the right path to rebuilding the continent’s most industrialized economy.

Nearly a year after Ramaphosa came to power from his predecessor corrupted by corruption, he launched an investigation to determine how bribery became so ingrained and prevent it in the future. He also launched plans to boost economic growth through an investment conference, which collected billions of contributions, and an employment summit, which the government, business and labor gathered to create jobs.

“The things he accomplished he and his cabinet have reached,” said Ramos, who participated in drafting the constitution of South Africa with Ramaphosa until the end of segregated government in 1994, said in an interview on the fields of peace on Friday. Economic Forum in Davos. “This is what I expected from him and how I recognized him.”

Ramaphosa seeks to raise $ 100 billion ($ 1.2 trillion) in 2023 to revive the economy, struggling to create jobs for 27% of the unemployed.

Since the announcement of the investment movement in April, China, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the Daimler division of Mercedes-Benz have announced their intention to allocate $ 35.5 billion (about 480 billion rands), and the companies promise another $ 20 billion (about 170 billion rands) in October.

Work ahead

“We are starting to see how trust returns to the economy,” said Ramos. And although important commitments were made to create jobs, they still need to be fulfilled, said the general director, who served as general director of finance at the first democratic administration, Nelson Mandela.

Ramos, 59, said Ramaphosa has an “open invitation” for businesses that want to participate in economic policies and growth opportunities, such as tourism. According to her, the government is also encouraged to ensure predictability in formulating policies, the absence of which has damaged South Africa in the past. “The biggest challenge facing South Africa is to have a strategy and build confidence in sustainable growth and job creation,” she said.

On potential hurdles

South Africa is an open economy, so when China and other large countries “sneeze, we fall into the middle” when the global economy is set to “survive another round of growth slowdown.”

On Absa’s outlook

“We are confident that the goals that we made public, and the strategy that we defined last year, are achievable.” The focus remains “our retail and commercial bank in South Africa. This is the biggest part of our business. ”

On gender equity

The South African government “is much better at managing gender representation and inclusiveness than the private sector.” Absa is trying to be strategic in terms of equality. “This is about ensuring that all the way from recruitment to career growth and career development allows us to raise awareness,” although not enough women come to senior positions. “In South Africa, the problem is often gender and race. This is a constant problem that requires constant and deliberate concentration. ”


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