The overarching goal of the National Development Programme (NDP) is to reduce inequality significantly in SA by 2030 "through uniting South Africans, unleashing the energies of its citizens, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities and enhancing the capability of the state and leaders to work together to solve complex problems". SA’s socioeconomic development prior to 1994 was systemically unequal, uneven and unjust. While South Africans can be proud of the political and human rights transformations that have taken place since, the socio-economic transformation efforts aimed at tackling the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment have in many respects not succeeded to the extent required. The systemic exclusion of the majority of the population persists and requires sustained effort to be addressed meaningfully. Investing in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially black-and women-owned SMEs, represents a critical lever for "growing an inclu...

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