Final blog as team member for the cohort of 2017, as I ascend the echelons to rank as an alumni, it’s been quite thrilling journey, one that I have made lifelong friends, I look forward to what the universe has in store next. I had the opportunity to converse with SAWIP alum Sizwe Mpofu Walsh at UCT, for his book engagement, titled: Democracy and Delusion.
In his book, he espouses ten issues that plague South Africa, and he posits a myriad of ways in addressing those issues, one of the intriguing topic that caught my attention was the question of: how we begin to move the South African Economy, and address existing inequities so we can move to create a better South Africa for all, and not the few. Through SAWIP, I also had the opportunity to converse with Dr Renosi Phakeng, who is an expert in the economic development of South Africa, Both Phakeng and Mpofu had similar parallel views.
They stated that: South Africa cannot progress if we continue to ignore structural injustices that were created by apartheid, and the key issue that continues to be at the tip of people’s mouths in South Africa, and the elephant in the room when it comes to the topic of development is the land question, land distribution and expropriation, but apart from that South Africa needs to be more aggressive and diversify its economy if it wants to decrease some of the socioeconomic issues that we are currently facing, also as a continental leader we should take up that role and cultivate a culture of sustainable ethical leadership, we can longer allow state looting to be normalised, now more than ever our democracy is threatened by those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the South African tax payer.
Moreover, it is no secret, and perhaps is the most common method that has been shoved down African states, that their economies need to begin to produce their own, meaning to export than import, and invest in infrastructure and labour specialization to retain and recruit talent at university level.
In essence, South Africa for pathways to growth needs to intensify on the following:
South Africa needs to promote economic growth through innovation. We need to get involved in the conversation of innovative technological advancements and more importantly train our labour force on how to respond to these technological disruptions, innovation and start-ups fuel our economic growth. They are the ultimate job creators who start with ingenious ideas; we must begin to take risks and create value for South African citizens and be a catalyst for change on the continent. Our nation has been built by encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation. Especially in our current economic downturn, it is crucial that we pursue national policies that promote innovation to ensure that there will be enough prosperity to carry on into the next generation, in essence a culture to create
We also need to advance manufacturing: South Africa can draw on its skilled labour to grow into a globally competitive manufacturing hub focused on high-value added categories such as automotive, industrial machinery and equipment, and chemicals. To realise this opportunity, however, South African manufacturers will have to pursue new markets and step up innovation and productivity. Infrastructure productivity South Africa: is investing heavily in infrastructure, but big gaps remain in electricity, water, and sanitation. By forging a true partnership, the public and private sectors can together drive three strategies to make infrastructure spending up to 40% more productive: making maximum use of existing assets and increasing maintenance; prioritising the projects with greatest impact; and strengthening management practices to streamline delivery.