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World‚ meet radical economic transformation

By Nathi Olifant | 2017-05-05 06:41:44.0

President Jacob Zuma has officially taken his party and government’s radical socio-economic transformation to the world stage‚ saying it will take the country on a path to inclusive growth.

Delivering his welcome address at the three-day World Economic Forum on Africa held at the Durban ICC on Thursday morning‚ Zuma said the rest of the world had a role to play in achieving government’s objective.

“Yes‚ we need to partner with the rest of the world to achieve our radical economic transformation goals. Our partners will find us moving forward with determination and zeal‚” said Zuma‚ whose address followed that of the WEF founder‚ Prof Klaus Schwab.

Zuma said moves were already underway to radically transform the African economy.

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“Infrastructure development remains top of the agenda to ease the movement of goods‚ people and services across Africa. Also critical is the work that is being done to promote regional integration and intra-Africa trade‚” he said.

Zuma said the WEF presented an “opportunity to discuss vigorously‚ the various issues of economic growth and development‚ mindful of the fact that opportunities from that growth must not be enjoyed only by a few.”

Zuma concurred with Schwab’s earlier remarks that Africa needed to ensure a growing economy which is inclusive but which is sustainable.

Schwab said the key was trust in the future of young‚ responsive and responsible leadership.

“How can we generate trust‚ what does it mean to have trust‚” Schwab posed.

“Of course we all know about the potential of Africa‚ but it needs more. It needs trust in the soundness of its institution systems. It needs trust in democracy and is not only about elections it needs also accountability‚” he said.

Schwab said “Africa has an enormous chance to leapfrog because it has a young population” which was eager to embrace change and to exploit entrepreneurial opportunities.

“But we have to provide some necessary ecosystems which comprises particularly education‚ upskilling and reskilling‚” he said.

Schwab said conditions needed be created so that the continent does not expect “fast solutions for complicated problems“.

“Of course there are many populists who exploit these situations but at the end I think we can create a prosperous peaceful world‚” he said.

He said another big challenge was how Africa and the world could solve the unemployment problem of the young generations.

Zuma’s response to these remarks was that the SADC has decided to prioritise industrialisation especially through labour intensive manufacturing to promote job creation.

“Other focus areas include agriculture in order to improve food security and also to begin to derive more value from the ocean‚ through boosting the ocean economy. These are areas that many investors would find lucrative on the African continent. For Africa to succeed in taking these programmes forward‚ we need to mobilise appropriate financing‚” he said.


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