South African President Cyril Ramaphosahas identified higher economic growth as the overarching goal of his Presidency and has urged business leaders to partner with government to put in place the building blocks required for achieving growth rates of higher than 5%.
South Africa dipped into a technical recession during 2018, despite a strong rise in business optimism after Ramaphosa took over from Jacob Zuma, whose administration had become synonymous with corruption and inefficiency.
Estimates suggest that South Africa grew by less than 1% in 2018, while a recent World Bank forecast pointed to a modest expansion of 1.3% for this year. Addressing a Business Unity South Africa event in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Ramaphosa said “there should be just one goal and that one single goal should be to grow the economy”.
He said government was ready and willing to collaborate with business and labour to remove obstacles to investment and to begin “imagining and re-imagining an economy that will have a 5% or a 7% growth”. Using robust language, he also urged business not to hold back in highlighting those areas where government policy and regulation were acting as a constraint on growth.
“Where we have been tentative, a bit slow or where we are showing lacklustre commitment you must kick us in the butt. You must be willing to come forward and speak strongly.”