President Cyril Ramaphosa was introduced to the first 100 young people to participate in the Youth Employment Scheme (YES) at its launch last week. That may be a modest number in the context of the millions of unemployed young South Africans, yet the launch was a milestone — because of the process that produced YES and also, crucially, because YES has the potential to have a real effect on youth unemployment. That YES has at last come together is a reflection of the much-improved relationship between big business and government under the new Ramaphosa presidency. When business leaders came together in the CEO Initiative in January 2016 in the wake of Nenegate, they moved first to try to prevent ratings downgrades but soon realised they needed to start doing something about growth and jobs. YES was one of the initiatives that emerged from that process, along with a new business-led small business fund, but while the business leaders were quick to come up with the measures and potenti...

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