World Economy

South Africa Aims to Build Resilience

South Africa Aims to Build ResilienceSouth Africa Aims to Build Resilience

South Africa’s economy is the government’s main priority due to the current global economic climate, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.

“The global economic climate is far from favorable. South Africa has made the economy an apex priority in this current period,” Zuma told guests at the Ubuntu Awards gala dinner in Cape Town, News24 reported.

He said government had been meeting with the country’s business community to work on putting measures in place that would ignite growth and help the country create more jobs.

“We will be meeting with labor and other sectors as well, as we respond to the persistent low growth, low commodity prices and other challenges facing developing economies.”

He said the aim was to build a resilient economy which would enable government to address challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality. South Africa also wanted to see the growth of economic development on the rest of the continent.

“In this regard, we encourage our business community to invest in the African continent to assist in creating jobs and improving the standard of living,” Zuma said.

He said regional integration efforts and the creation of continental free trade area were a step in the right direction, which would contribute “immensely” to Africa’s development. “Indeed, we want an Africa that is peaceful, prosperous and stable for future generations,” he said.

  Balancing Act

A national minimum wage would go a long way to improve labor relations in South Africa, but it shouldn’t undermine employment creation, ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe said Friday.

This was one of the balancing acts Zuma performed on Thursday night to appease the ruling party’s alliance partners and electorate, while at the same time trying not to alienate the business sector.

He emphasized the importance of allowing private businesses to thrive so that the economy could grow, he said, and added that that a national minimum wage would be introduced later this year, although an amount still had to be agreed upon.

Labor indicated it wanted the minimum wage to be between R4, 500 and R5, 500 ($283-346) per month, but a formal agreement still needs to be reached in the National Economic Development and Labor Council.