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The past decade has not been easy for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners. GDP growth has been almost non-existent for most of the past ten years, and despite a widely held – and correct – belief that SMEs hold the keys to job creation and economic growth, they’ve largely been left to fend for themselves.
COVID-19’s devastating grip on economies may be dominating headlines but in many parts of the world – specifically South Africa – chronic unemployment is arguably, the more debilitating 'pandemic'. With the world record for the highest unemployment rate, close to half our population (44.4%) who are eligible to work, remain unemployed.
You don’t need to be a Nobel economics laureate to know that with the world’s highest rate of unemployment, South Africa needs to attract a lot more job-creating investments. One of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s (DTIC’s) flagship programmes is the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), a new iteration of what we used to call Industrial Development Zones (IDZs).
Skills development is one of the cornerstones of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) and makes up a significant percentage of the scorecard. South African businesses need to shift their mindset to see it as more than just a compliance exercise. The goal of B-BBEE is not to stifle businesses but to provide a fair environment for all and uplift previously disadvantaged people to enable them to earn an income and contribute to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Youth unemployment is not a problem to be solved; it is an opportunity to maximise. Reframing one of South Africa’s single biggest socio-economic challenges sets the us apart from most skills development providers.
After the shocking riots that engulfed South Africa last month, all of us in this beautiful country have cause for deep reflection, regardless of our race, religion, age or political views. Was this a singular event, why did it happen? Few would deny that the inequality in our society, poverty and unemployment of so many are among the root causes.
The internet is disruptive by nature. It has transformed the way societies and economies work, communicate and play, businesses operate, and how governments deliver services to citizens. Digital technologies are paving the way forward for rapid innovation, economic growth, and job creation.
We’re often told that entrepreneurship is crucial to securing Africa’s future, especially when it comes to providing the jobs the continent so desperately needs. There’s also no doubt that the continent has any number of entrepreneurial stories to draw inspiration from.
As a country with one of the most emissions-intensive power sectors in the world, and a nation that is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, South Africa understands the need to transition its economy and to decarbonise, as well as to build resilience to the impacts of climate change.