South Africa: Big task lies ahead to reform the economy – presidential adviser Makhaya

By Xolisa Phillip, in Johannesburg

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Posted on July 15, 2021 14:25

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa gestures as he delivers the opening address during the 3rd South Africa Investment Conference in Sandton
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the 3rd South Africa Investment Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Sandton, South Africa, November 18, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

A mammoth task lies ahead for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration to reform South Africa’s economy. Progress has been made, but “one shouldn’t overestimate where we are. We’ve been taking steps in the right direction. We still need to do a lot more,” says economist and businesswoman Trudi Makhaya.

Makhaya has been serving as President Ramaphosa’s economic adviser since April 2018. Between then and now, the country hosted a jobs summit as well as the South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC).

The summit was intended to rope in the private sector to help with the country’s high unemployment rate, while the SAIC was held to unlock private-sector investment, which has been on a downward trend for more than a decade.

Both events were on a give-and-take premise between the state and the private sector.  The government promised to address policy shortcomings to create optimal conditions for investment and job creation.

Out of an estimated 40 million South African adults, only 16 million are in employment, according to the World Bank’s latest South Africa Economic Update. South Africa’s emerging-market peers – including Thailand, Vietnam, Romania and Turkey – fare better.

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