(Image: Getty Images)The annual Investing in African Mining Conference – commonly known as Mining Indaba – is being held between 8-11 February in Cape Town this year. The event is a key feature on Team South Africa’s calendar. It presents an opportunity for South African investors and stakeholders in the mining sector to connect with international roleplayers and facilitate opportunities for growth and development.It also presents an opportunity for South Africa to position itself as a competitive destination, in a range of areas, that is open for business.Below are Brand South Africa’s eight key messages that it will take to the event in Cape Town. Follow the Mining Indaba on Twitter using #SAMining2016.South Africa is open for businessSouth Africa is a dynamic and stable economy with solid economic fundamentals.Our prudent fiscal management and monetary policies have created macroeconomic stability.The country’s sound financial system, highly regulated banking sector and world class infrastructure supports investment.South Africa is a competitive business and investment destination.The country recently climbed seven places to take a spot in the top 50 out of 140 countries in the Wworld Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. South Africa stands at number 49.South Africa is also ranked number 4 of 54 African countries in the Ibrahim Index on African Governance.South Africa has recently experienced challenges in terms of economic growth underpinned by global economic challenges.South Africa is in the process of implementing a 9 point plan towards economic recovery and growthSouth Africa is welcoming to investors and visitorsThe Department of Home Affairs has identified priority areas for consideration and/or implementation in the short, medium and the long term. These include but are not limited to:A long-term Multiple Entry Visa for a period exceeding three months and up to three years for frequent travellers (for business meetings), business people and academics.Extending the validity of the parental consent affidavit to 6 months.A visa-waiver for India, China, Russia and other countries.Looking at issuing visas on arrival for persons travelling to South Africa having in their passports valid visas for the UK, USA and Canada or any other country that applies stringent checks on visitors to their countries, to ease travel for tourists.Opening two Business Visa Facilitation Centres in Durban and Port Elizabeth, in addition to the centre recently opened in Sandton.The South African economy will be driven by public-private partnershipsThere are a number of interventions aimed at promoting and facilitating private investment in the economy.At a national level, the Department of Trade and Industry has created a new Investment Promotion and Inter-departmental Clearing House division aimed at providing better investor support services.The new Protection of Investment Bill ensures that SA is open to FDI, balances the rights and obligations of investors and Government while also preserving the right of Government to regulate in the public interest. This is in line with the changing global landscape of investment policy making.Incentives and support services for investors in the Special Economic Zones programme are also being developed by the DTI.South Africa is currently implementing policies and programmes to drive economic growth and developmentSouth Africa is currently implementing the National Development Plan and supporting programmes to drive economic growth and development.This includes the 9 point plan and Operation Phakisa.Operation Phakisa was launched in 2014 to ensure rapid economic development in key sectors.Operation Phakisa is a results-driven approach, involving setting clear plans and targets, on-going monitoring of progress and making these results public. The methodology consists of eight sequential steps. It focusses on bringing key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, academia as well as civil society organisations together to collaborate in.Mining Phakisa is currently underway which will contribute to South Africa’s drive to add more value to its mineral resources. This could be achieved through the beneficiation of our mineral resources (focussing on 5 value chains i.e. Platinum group metals, iron & steel, titanium, polypropelene and capital equipment for the mining sector)Current contribution of the mining sector to the economyThe mining industry contributes approximately 7% to South Africa’s GDPThe mining sector supports the fiscus by paying all taxes and other state revenues. Annual company taxation paid by mining companies over the last 10 years has averaged between R15 and R20 billion per annum. Additionally, since 2010 the mining industry pays – on average – an additional royalty to the state of R5 billion per annum. Further, the industry is one of the largest contributors to capital investment in the country, having invested between R60 and R70 billion on capital per annum in the past decade. This is about 20% of total private sector investment in the economyIn the decade 2003-2013, the mining sector has contributed just over R2.4 trillion to the country’s GDP and R2.4 trillion to the country’s export earnings, in real money termsThe mining sector attracts 15-25% of total FDI into South AfricaThe sector creates between 8-15% of jobs in the country.South Africa’s industrialisation programme will ensure modernisation of the mining sectorThe mining sector has historically made a significant contribution to the South African economy. Much of the country’s economic infrastructure is based on the mining sector, the industry’s supply chain and the beneficiation of minerals mined. Well considered policies will no doubt enhance value-addition of the entire mining value chain in our economyThe South African mining sector is currently facing challenges due to the falling global prices of commodities. Modernisation of the mining sector is important to ensuring the profitability of the sector as well as the retention of jobs.The long term intensification of South Africa’s industrialisation process is important to move the country into the knowledge economy.Government is not the sole custodian of the industrialisation of the South African economy. This will require the participation of a range of stakeholders in the country including organised business and civil society.Industrialisation must be supported by the necessary and complementary policies:A stable and supportive macro-economic and regulatory environmentAppropriate skills development and education systems which are increasingly integrated with the needs of the industrial economySufficient, reliable and competitively priced traditional and modern infrastructureAdequate support for various forms of technological effort within the economySouth African identified priorities for industrialisationDevelopments in the mining sector must be supported by new growth sectors such as oil & gas, metal engineering and capital equipment and agro-processing will be targeted for intensive government support.Recalibration of industrial finance will aim to strengthen the package of Government and DFI support for the productive sectorsGrowing the oceans economy with a focus on marine transport and manufacturing remains a central component of South Africa’s industrial imperativesThe Lodox Scanner as an example of innovation in the mining sectorThe Lodox Scanner is an excellent example of innovation pioneered in the mining industry that has contributed to other sectors and demonstrates the competitiveness of South Africa.The Lodox Scanner was developed by De Beers to detect theft of diamonds by its miners.It has morphed into a machine that has saved lives and radically changed the way doctors in South Africa and across the globe deal with traumatic injury.The Lodox Scanner is a full-body, digital X-ray scanner that is extremely low dose (90% less radiation) and produces diagnostic-quality images equivalent to, or better than, those taken by conventional X-ray machines, in a fraction of the time.Modernisation of the mining industry will drive the development of South Africa’s human capitalModernisation of the industry will facilitate greater development of South Africa’s human capital since higher skills levels will be required to drive the economy.The long term improvement of South Africa’s human capital is a key component of the country’s National Development Plan.Education is absolutely key to South Africa’s future, to enhance opportunities for our citizens and to grow our industry.The Chamber and its members are committed to developing the skills of both current and future employees and, in particular, those of the youth. In the 2014 financial year alone, the Chamber and its members invested R5 billion in skills development and education projects. The focus areas range from tertiary education bursaries for scarce skills, through technical and artisan skill training programmes and ABET initiatives.In the past 10 years the members of the Chamber have supported approximately 10 000 students per annum through bursaries at a number of tertiary institutions. A focus on the youth means that one third of the professionals employed in the mining industry are below the age of 35, as are 37% of clerical and support workers and 38% of artisansMining companies have made significant strides in their contribution to improving the lives of their employees, their families, communities living around mines, and the wider population.Data from Stats SA indicates that mineworkers are amongst the top 25% of wage earners in South Africa and have access to benefits that are lacking in many other labour intensive industries.Greater beneficiation of South Africa’s mineral resources will contribute to the value of the industry to the economySouth Africa and ManufacturingSouth Africa has introduced a Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (MCEP) to enhance the value of the country’s raw materialsSince its introduction, this programme has approved 562 projects with a projected investment value of R15.9bn.The programme helped to sustain 139 911 jobs since its inception in agro-processing, metals, chemicals, plastic, electro technical, printing, pharmaceuticals, film and wood.Total grants under this programme include:R136 million in Agro-processing sector with an investment value of R453 million and 4,101 jobs retainedR106 million in the chemicals sector with an investment value of R 339 million and 1, 395 jobs retainedR164 million in Metals sector with an investment value of R549 million and 2,646 jobs retainedR1.5 million the Wood sector with an investment value of R 3.3 millionThe Manufacturing Investment Programme (MIP) approved 1856 projects, with projected investment of R35.4 billion and 43, 570 jobs, and a total incentive value of R4.9 billion.498 (27%) projects in Agro-processing,462 (25%) and 418 (22.5%) in Metals and Chemicals subsectors, respectively.The IDC has increased funding to boost youth entrepreneurship to up to R2.7 billion.The IDC has also invested R45bn in the past four years into projects in the form of equity or loans, also in the services sector, infrastructure development, and the green economy.The economy is supported by investment in infrastructure, with a particular focus on energy supplyAs part of government’s nine point plan, South Africa remains committed to resolving energy challenges to enable, amongst others, industrialisation.Public sector infrastructure investment is projected to exceed R800m over the medium termEnergy securityEfforts to increase and stabilise energy supply have produced positive results. The first unit of Medupi has come online in 2015, adding 800 MW to the grid.The permanent appointment of the CEO and the CFO for Eskom have brought stability in the governance of the institution. Government recapitalised Eskom with R23 billion from the sale of none core assets. This brings financial stability and allows Eskom to keep the lights on.Other notable achievements include the commercial operation of the SERE wind farm in the Western Cape, which saw 100 megawatts added to the grid.South Africa has also embarked on diversifying its electricity supply with the success of its renewables independent power producers programme. The 2014 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) put SA among the top 10 countries for renewable energy investments.Private sector investment in clean energy will see 4000 megawatts added to the national grid. The government has commenced with the procurement of 2400 megawatts coal fired energy from private sector.South Africa and the renewable energy programmeSouth Africa is succeeding in diversifying its energy mix through its renewables Independent Power Producers programme.Private sector investment in clean energy has seen more than 6000MW of renewable energy projects awarded under the government’s REIPPP. Thus far, 1800MW of renewable energy power has already been connected to the national grid. Further determinations for the rollout of renewable energy will see an additional 6300MW being procured as well as new determinations for gas to power, co-generation and coal based load. The 2014 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) put SA among the top 10 countries for renewable energy investments.A practical example of showcasing how innovation can contribute to energy security: the offices of the Chamber of Mines are powered by a fuel cell using just 40 ounces of platinum and low-pressure natural gas. The fuel cell, installed in December 2014, was the culmination of a four-year initiative to demonstrate the applicability of fuel cell technology in South Africa, in a partnership between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Egoli Gas and Mitochondria Energy Company. The partnership aims to demonstrate the potential for local fabrication and the industrial use of platinum in a significant new market; for the partners to gain local experience with fuel cell plants; to act as an industry leader on fuel cell deployments and influence the development of African fuel cell markets; to create jobs through the implementation and servicing of the technology.TransportSouth Africa is committed to investing in more integrated and efficient public transport. Government is also investing in infrastructure to enhance efficiency in the transport of goods to improve overall competitiveness.Better transport networks will facilitate better value chains which will support the growth and development of the industry.ICTSouth Africa’s improvements in this sector have contributed to the country’s increased competitiveness. South African telecoms companies spend about R20 billion a year on infrastructure.Government is in the process of rolling out its digital migration programmeAfrica is open for business as an investment destination, particularly in the mining industryAfrica is among the fastest growing regions in the world and strengthened engagement presents major growth opportunities for trade and investment by South African firms, as well as firms that want to use our country as a gateway to the continent.The African market presents many opportunities for exploration of mineral resources.Africa is the third in the world in terms of global share of the exploration budget (Eurasian countries taking are in second position.)The global share of Africa’s exploration remained unchanged at 17% in both 2012 and 2013.Major African exploration destinations included Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burkina Faso, South Africa, Zambia, and Ghana.A continued focus on West Africa, Burkina Faso in particular, resulted in gold receiving the largest allocation in 2013. The budgets for base metals fell only 14%, raising their share of the overall budgets from 22% to 27%Integration and industrialisation will contribute to Africa realising its fully potential in terms of the exploration and beneficiation of its mineral resources Efforts towards market integration through SADC, and the Tripartite Free Trade Area will address the challenges of small and fragmented markets in the region. The Tripartite Free Trade Area is expected to create a market of US$2.6 trillion, with a combined population of over 600 million.South Africa is working with SADC to support regional value chains to enhance the region’s competitiveness and promote inclusive growth and development in the region. In April 2015, SADC heads of states approved the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.The industrialisation agenda will require a focus on building infrastructure necessary to support trade.South Africa is championing infrastructure development in Africa through the continental north-south rail and road links, as part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. South Africa is committed to the reformation of the global economic and political architectureSouth Africa is working to improve global financial stability and increase financial resources available for development in Africa though, amongst others, collaboration with BRICS and the G-20BRICS has set up a New Development Bank (NDB) with an authorised capital of US$100 billion. Each country will have a 20% shareholding in the Bank.The Bank will be head quartered in Shanghai, China; and the Africa Regional Centre (the first regional office of the NDB) will be established in Johannesburg, South Africa.BRICS countries have also established a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) under which they agree to provide financial support to each other in the event of balance of payments problems. The CRA will complement the financial resources that the participants can obtain from the IMF.