EXCLUSIVE: Inside Ramaphosa’s closed-door economic confabs
Talking about the economy ties SA in knots; it’s time for the government to choose its policies and actually implement them
From the moment he became president, Cyril Ramaphosa has been wanting to confer with leading economists on how to get growth going. But when he finally convened a series of three economic discussions starting late last year — each taking place behind closed doors, away from the scrutiny of the press — the message he received was apparently dire. After years of kicking the can down the road, it seems SA has finally run out of road. Harvard economics professor Robert Lawrence told the assembled ministers and officials that SA is in "serious trouble". The country is caught in a low-growth trap, skirting close to a downgrade, and in danger of suffering a sudden stop in capital inflows and a run on the currency. Alarmingly, the government doesn’t have a cogent plan to revive growth. SA’s 500-page long-term vision, the National Development Plan, was barely mentioned during the discussions, Ramaphosa having made it clear that he was looking for immediate steps that could kick-start growth ...