Stephen Cranston Associate editor

I always wondered about the phrase "middle-income trap", which helps explain why SA, and some other countries such as Brazil, the Philippines and Turkey, are stuck in low growth. So it was useful for Haroon Bhorat, a professor of economics at the University of Cape Town, to delve into the topic at the Electus roadshow. Bhorat is not an insular academic as he is also chair of Sygnia, where he spends most of his time mediating between Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka and her former friend Iqbal Survé of Independent Media. SA has felt the middle-income trap more than its peers, with real GDP growth per capita of less than 1%. It can’t all be blamed on endemic SA factors such as bribes or Capetonians fleeing the city at midday on Friday. Bhorat says that previously, countries moved from agriculture to manufacturing and then to hi-tech services: textiles was usually the entry point into mass manufacturing, and today this is how Vietnam and Bangladesh are evolving into industral powers. Yet SA,...

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