The Inclusive Society Institute on Wednesday, 9 March 2022, hosted the first session of a consolidation exercise of the final phase of its economic blueprint research project. The meeting brought together several industry experts to discuss the Institute’s research with the aim to consolidate those findings into a comprehensive report to identify the themes that require public policy interventions as well as the structural reforms that need to be introduced to put South Africa’s economy onto a more acceptable growth path.
The final report will include economic modelling to project the impact of such policy adjustments and structural reforms over the short to medium term.
Some of the issues raised:
The participants all agreed that the most pressing issue impacting South Africa’s economic growth is the energy crisis, with one pointing out that it “is a ceiling on South Africa’s economic growth potential.”
An energy and infrastructure strategist noted that the private sector very often criticises government for not prioritizing the biggest challenges, and therefore trying to tackle everything at once and failing. He questioned whether a new approach should be deliberated, especially considering the severe impact of the energy crisis on economic growth.
An economist also mentioned that transport and logistics have the same paralysing impact on the economy as the electricity crisis, which are all strongly interrelated.
Another expert noted that while the discussions are arriving at good insights, the research needs to be refined to make it more precise and specific for the final report.
A number of participants observed that general consensus exists around the importance of the pre-requisites for unlocking economic growth; however, the immediate action steps – identifying 'what' needs to be done to move the economy forward – must be prioritised and executed.
What needs to be added to the narrative around these opportunities is the 'downside risk' posed by the disintegrating social fabric, lawlessness and the dysfunctional and ineffective criminal justice system. Perhaps modelling the downside and its impact on the outcomes might shift this perspective.
A full report will be published in due course