Despite the fact that South Africa’s economy is without a doubt displaying signs of growth, it will continue to deal with unstable times ahead, according to Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.
“There is no room for complacency and in addition we continue to have to deal with a considerable amount of uncertainty during this current period of adjustment throughout the global economy,” he was quoted saying.
During the first quarter of 2011, the local economy expanded by 4.8 percent.
“Whilst this recovery is more robust compared to a year ago in South Africa as well as in almost every other emerging market countries, its fundamentals are certainly not yet sustainable; in addition to being highly dependent on support from expansionary fiscal and monetary policies,” Nene explained.
Skills challenges and education continues to be a major factor that still to be confronted by the Republic in addition to a vibrant economy is necessary to deal with poverty and unemployment.
“Unemployment represents our most significant problem: no more than 13 million South Africans, or 41 percent of the working-age population, currently have regular employment,” revealed the deputy minister.
He conveyed concern around the high level of unemployment among the younger generation at 42 percent. “Even though the economy has recovered, employment opportunities continues to be below its pre-crisis level. Something has to be done.”
The New Growth Path, which intends to generate five million work opportunities over the next 10 years, is projected to generate in excess of a million jobs in infrastructure development and housing, while an additional 500 000 job opportunities would be generated within the agricultural sector and 350 000 in manufacturing. Travel and leisure is aimed towards 225 000 jobs not to mention mining expecting 140 000 opportunities.
The deputy minister pointed out that higher employment in the manufacturing sector, at the same time, will depend upon the successful implementation of the second Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP2), which was in addition revealed last year to offer new direction and impetus with regard to South African manufacturing.
The reform of development finance institutions is in addition going ahead.
Nene mentioned that the Path will certainly fail to meet its targets if an environment which is conducive to private-sector growth and business investment is not promoted. “This demands from Government to provide economic stability and help reduce the cost of capital via sound macroeconomic policies.”
The deputy minister acknowledged the role played by the private sugar industry in its initiatives to generate opportunities, for instance offering bursaries for studies in agriculture, sciences and engineering. “These areas are some of the critical skills needed to fuel our sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”
The South African sugar industry provides an annual estimated average direct income of R8 billion, along with direct employment within the sugar industry at approximately 77 000 jobs.