by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa is devising a new resuscitation scheme to help revive its economy from the ravages of the coronavirus (COVID-19) scourge.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has disclosed the plans as Africa’s most advanced economy experiences a peak in infections.
“In the coming weeks, we will work with our social partners to finalise an economic recovery programme that brings together the best of all the various proposals,” he said in his weekly letter.
The president said the most important part of that programme must be the protection and the creation of jobs.
South Africa is reeling from massive job losses following the outbreak of the virus and the lockdown imposed at the end of March to flatten the contraction curve.
Ramaphosa said with the advent of the pandemic, South Africa needed to pursue new sources of growth within a fundamentally different context.
He said many of the areas his government had identified before remained relevant and urgent.
These include a growing small and medium enterprise (SMEs) and an agricultural sector that delivers food security.
“Some sectors have taken on a new significance,” the leader said.
He said the country should, for example, use this opportunity to build a greener economy, with entrepreneurs entering new fields such as hybrid cars, fuel cells, battery storage and waste beneficiation.
“This element has come out quite clearly in the various plans that have been released.”
On an African context, Ramaphosa said in the year of his country’s chairship of the African Union (AU), his administration was planning for the activation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFT), which has been delayed by the pandemic.
He said all social partners saw the value of expanding trade in an integrated Africa, with concrete proposals on how to overcome the barriers that impede the ability of Africans to trade with one another.
“Our strategies to promote local production, which is a common theme across the various recovery plans, should support efforts to create regional value chains on the continent,” Ramaphosa said.
In conclusion, the president said the government must build an economy that was resilient, dynamic and created work and opportunity as well as meeting the needs of its entire people.
“We have all the ingredients for an economic recovery. Now let us work together to make it happen,” he concluded.
– CAJ News