Essence of the Growth Path


You have come to South Africa some months after the FIFA World Cup. During the World Cup period we projected on the television screens across the world, a country with an enormous capacity to pull off, not only an event with technical excellence but with great spirit. We brought something unusual to the World Cup and we were confident from day one that we were going to be successful. Post the World Cup we’ve been completing the work that this administration has set itself.

President Zuma took office in May last year just after our general election and we started to put together a plan to address the employment, social and economic challenges of the country. Within over this decade and a half we’ve been able to achieve a stable democracy. We’ve got a transparent system of governance, we’ve got a free and independent media, and we’ve got a tradition of South Africans engaging very deeply in matters that they feel passionate about. While we’ve achieved a lot for example, a sustained economic growth year after year since 1994. The longest stretch of unbroken growth in recent times in South African history. We have to recognise that there are major challenges.

As you drive around our beautiful country you see both spectacular natural beauty, all the examples of a modern country with smart infrastructure but you will also see evidence of the social challenges that we face, of unemployment, poverty and inequality and so we are addressing ourselves with the same minded focus that we brought to the World Cup of addressing the challenges of unemployment. We have set ourselves some ambitious growth targets, that over the next ten years, we want to be able to increase employment by over five million jobs.

We have identified a number of areas in the economy where there is significant potential to grow jobs. Some of those not surprisingly are linked to the construction sites that you may have seen all over. We are basically rebuilding our infrastructure, creating a modern advanced infrastructure to take us through the twenty first century. We are doubling our energy generating capacity from 45 000 (forty five thousand) megawatts to about 85 000 (eighty five thousand) megawatts in the next two decades. We’re developing a transport system that builds on what you saw during the World Cup but now seek to expand it across the country. We are investing heavily on rail and we are seeking to ensure that through this investment of energy and transport we create an opportunity not only in the short run through jobs being created but more fundamentally for a greater efficiency in the economy, for reduced costs of doing business and very very importantly for the means of linking up parts of the country that have not sufficiently been part of the economic main stream. This really represented a nation that is confident about its future that believes that it’s worth investing enormous sums of money in creating a physical infrastructure.

The growth path goes beyond, it also identifies the opportunities that come from infrastructure investment. We seek to build a solid and competitive manufacturing pace to produce the components of the infrastructure build programme. We need to leverage a lot more financial resources both minerals as well as agriculture and aside from manufacturing the other big story for us is the Green Economy.

South Africa is a carbon intensive economy. Our location predisposed us to that. We’ve got a significant coal base, we’ve got cutting edge technologies to convert coal to oil but the consequence of all of this is that we are very coal reliant. In the content of great awareness by all of us of the damage and reality of climate change, we’re now seeking to mitigate the extent of carbon emission in the economy by building a strong green economy.

Finally I hope that you have enjoyed your stay in South Africa. We also wish to build on all of that with a significant expansion in tourism.