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Ricardo Hausmann. Picture: REUTERS
Ricardo Hausmann. Picture: REUTERS

I read the reports compiled by the Harvard Growth Lab team Ricardo Hausmann led (“Growth through inclusion: the key to unlocking SA’s economic potential”, November 22).

A few thoughts: Eskom was award winning at the turn of the millennium; electricity was one of our competitive advantages. In 1994 our GDP per capita was the global median, and it is now at the 75th percentile. We have not kept up with global growth.

Honest appraisal of the government’s growth, inclusion and transformation plans showing that our country is a laggard needs to be internalised, and manifest in a realisation that more of the same will probably lead to the same outcome.

Our nation’s performance in the Timss and Pirls assessments of school pupils shows that we are not preparing our youth for the world of work. This has to be a larger part of the story, especially given that many of working age are already ill prepared for the market. Analysis of unemployment rates by education level shows that this is clearly a large contributing factor.

SA is large, with much of the country sparsely populated. Economic infrastructure (power lines, train lines, road freight corridors) is proving to be vulnerable, at risk and hard to secure and protect.

Those who can are moving closer to the economic hubs that are working, and those that can’t are being left behind. The rule of law is a prerequisite for rural areas to see growth.

Inclusion — best embodied by the “stronger together” mantra of the Springboks — has many dimensions, not just spatial. Consider foreigners with skills who face hurdles and exclusion. If they are persistent they win intolerance, xenophobia and race-based exclusionary BEE legislation.

Greg Becker
Via BusinessLIVE

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