JOHANNESBURG, March 25 South African Finance
Minister Pravin Gordhan embarks on a week-long non-deal investor
roadshow in Britain and the United States on Monday as weak
economic growth and ruling party tensions put the country's
investment grade at risk.
Africa's most industrialised economy escaped being
downgraded to junk status last year. S&P Global Ratings and
Fitch Ratings both rank the sovereign one level above junk,
while Moody's puts it two notches higher.
Moody's, which put South Africa on negative watch in its
latest review, is due to revisit that on April 7, followed by
S&P at the beginning of June.
Gordhan, his deputy Mcebisi Jonas and Treasury director
general Lungisa Fuzile will lead a team to London, Boston and
New York that will include executives from the private sector
and union officials, a Treasury statement said on Saturday.
The aim of the trip "is to provide an update on the most
recent developments, engage constructively with investors and
share government's thinking behind its' latest policy
proposals," it said.
In February, Gordhan spelt out measures to help boost the
economy, plug a budget deficit and tackle stubbornly high
unemployment. Gordhan said the Treasury forecast growth this
year of just 1.3 percent.
The economy expanded by 0.3 percent in 2016 but still well
below the government's 5 percent target.
Investors are also concerned about rising political tensions
in the ruling African National Congress, which is due to vote in
December to elect a new party leader in place of President Jacob
Prior to Gordhan's budget speech last month, financial
markets had been rattled by media reports that the minister --
seen by investors as a guarantor of stability -- might be moved
from the Treasury in a cabinet reshuffle. Gordhan has said it
was Zuma's prerogative to fire him.
(Reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Helen Popper)