S.Africa’s progress requires collaborative partnerships: Nene - CNBC Africa

S.Africa’s progress requires collaborative partnerships: Nene

Southern Africa

by Trust Matsilele 0

S.Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene says the country's progress requires collaborative partnerships. PHOTO: GCIS

He added that, the next phase of growth was about the dynamism and agility of the private sector and the synergies between the private sector and government.

“The National Development Plan provides a strong platform for such collaboration and the transition to a faster-growing, more inclusive economy,” noted Nene at the 2014 KPMG executive forum on Africa.

(READ MORE: We need to deliver on the National Development Plan now: Zuma)

“The plan promotes enhanced competitiveness, expanded infrastructure, greater spatial efficiency in growing cities and accelerated rural development. It also prioritises measures to build a capable and effective state.”

He further added that, the government was committed to supporting the private sector through maintaining macroeconomic stability, addressing infrastructure deficits, and improving the competitiveness of labour-absorbing industries.

Turning to economic climate in the country, Nene explained that production losses in the mining sector had contributed to slowing down the progress.

“On the home front, economic activity contracted in the first quarter of 2014, mainly driven by production losses in the mining and manufacturing sectors. Unlike in preceding years, the slowdown in domestic economic activity has been largely driven by local developments,” added Nene.

“The ending of the strike in the platinum sector should have a positive impact on sentiment and ultimately economic growth,” Nene noted.

The finance minister explained that, of the total mining sector contraction of around 25 per cent in the first quarter, the drop in platinum production as a result of the strike accounted for about 19 percentage points.

(READ MORE: Platinum strikes could drive S.Africa into a recession)

South Africa’s ratings have been sliding in the recent past forcing investors to hold back their money.

“The RMB/BER Business Confidence Index has remained below the neutral 50 level in the first half of 2014,” Nene said.

“Business conditions remain subdued and growth in private sector investment lost further momentum during the first quarter 2014, slowing to 1.0 per cent from 2.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2013,” he added.

According to Nene, the private sector formal employment declined by 0.4 per cent q/q with 5,500 jobs shed in the last quarter of 2013 – this was the third consecutive quarter of job losses in the sector.

The majority of job losses were recorded in the finance, insurance, real-estate and business services sector and the mining sector.

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