Nigeria’s Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala on Friday attended South Africa Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) on the invitation of President Cyril Ramaphosa, to discuss the economic and developmental challenges in the South African economy.
Since Dr Okonjo Iweala shared photos from the meeting, there have been unconfirmed reports that the South African President has appointed the former World Bank Managing Director and former Nigerian Finance Minister as head of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, while others reported that she was appointed member.
None of these reports has been confirmed by the President of South Africa, as the statement released by Khusela Diko who is the Spokesperson to the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, did not make mention of the rumoured appointment of Dr Okonjo Iweala.
He said the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) meeting where it was rumoured that Dr Okonjo Iweala was appointed as a member or was unveiled to the other cabinet members as a special guest, was held at the Union Buildings on Friday 06 March 2020. The meeting according to the statement by the South Africa government was to review and refine South Africa’s collective response to current economic and development challenges.
According to the statement, the Council was inaugurated in October 2019 to serve as a forum for in-depth and structured discussions on emerging global and domestic development, economic and development policies and to facilitate socialisation and diligent execution of Council resolutions by government and social partners.
The Council comprises local and international economic thought leaders, prominent economists and technical experts drawn from academia, private sector, labour, community, think tanks and other constituencies.
“The meeting chaired by the President is expected to focus on global trends and South Africa’s re-industrialisation program. It will further reflect on the state’s role in driving mission-oriented, challenge-led projects, including advancing a new energy paradigm for the country.
The Council will also serve as a sounding board on options for reducing inequality through, among others, inclusively growing the agricultural sector and dealing with rising national debt.
The President has urged the advisory council to focus its energies on areas that require the greatest attention and which are likely to have the greatest impact.
“We need to firstly, fix the fundamentals, secondly pursue vital areas of growth and thirdly, aim for excellence in planning and execution,” the statement said.
Dr Okonjo Iweala who also did not confirm an appointment, when she shared photos from the meeting, showing her and the South African President and other members of the South Africa cabinet members, had captioned the photo with:
“With President Ramaphosa, members of the cabinet, and members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council in Pretoria discussing sources of growth for the South African economy and win-win economic interactions with the continent”.