OECD blasts state policy

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Government policies ranging from its reliance on state-owned monopolies to Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa, AsgiSA, and BEE were roasted in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)'s first analysis of the country.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said: "We didn't employ the OECD to be praise singers."

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said one of the functions of these reports was to stop countries becoming complacent.

"As a former finance minister of Mexico, I know it is easy for countries to think they are doing well when they are not," he said.

For instance, South Africa's per capita gross domestic growth over the past few years seems impressive. But it only beat Brazil out of the OECD's five "enhanced engagement" countries seeking to join its 30 existing members.

Gurria said the advantages for South Africa in joining the OECD was reports like this, which would help it measure itself against its peers. Education was singled out as a key problem, and the OECD plans to issue a more detailed report on this in October.

The report criticises government's AsgiSA strategy for not focusing on real priorities like Aids and crime, and that in any event the six priorities selected have not been implemented.