What would an economy that works for all South Africans look like?
After a decade of slow growth and poor governance, the ills that plague the economy are easy to discern.
It is not difficult to recite the litany of woes and missteps that have kept the economy stagnant over that period.
After President Ramaphosa took over the mantle of leadership early in 2018, business and consumer confidence rose.
The change in leadership provided hope that the economic climate would improve.
AN ECONOMY FOR Indeed, government has tackled a number of pressing issues with vigour.
Some of the policy and regulatory issues that have dampened the environment for growth – in fields ranging from mining, energy, tourism and telecommunications – are being tackled.
A new Mining Charter has been released. There is constructive debate over the newly released Integrated Resource Plan. Regulations on visas have been amended.
The policy framework for the release of high-demand spectrum is being laid out, and an inquiry into the cost to communicate is under way.
New leadership has come in at various state-owned enterprises.
The framework agreement arising out of the Jobs Summit signifies the desire of business, labour and government to work together to tackle unemployment.
Private investment is also set to emerge from the slump of the recent past,
with some significant investment pledges announced at the Investment Conference held in October last year.
Yet this newfound sense of direction and energy risks being overwhelmed by the effects of the past.
In the first two quarters of last year, the economy suffered a contraction.
This came about as the result of a confluence of factors,
with the prospects of emerging markets under scrutiny as crises unfolded in peer countries such as Turkey and Argentina.
The failure to stage a decisive recovery from the Great Recession means that our economy lacks the resilience to weather high oil prices, brewing trade wars and negative global sentiment.
The negative macro-economic trends that played out in the second
and third quarter of 2018 add to the odious economy legacy that keeps potential growth low.
The structural underpinnings of the economy, with its high levels of concentration, inequality and exclusion constrain growth.
In the face of the foregoing analysis, there is a tendency for the difficulties to overwhelm the progress that is underway.
At times like this, it is important to step back and turn to a constructive lens through which to assess the economy.
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