South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has called for improved black participation in the economic landscape saying currently a paltry three per cent was a representative of black ownership at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Zuma said there was need to make unpopular decisions that would benefit the majority.
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“Let’s use our political power to economically empower our people, as majority of black people throughout the world are subjected to difficult conditions,” said Zuma.
“You can change things politically but if you haven’t changed things economically, forget it.”
He added that the previous generation managed to bring political independence to the rest of Africa adding that the young generation was supposed to bring economic independence.
Borrowing from his visiting guest and controversial Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Zuma made veiled reference to a developed world for failure to promote racial equality.
“It’s important, it’s urgent and it is correct to liberate our people economically,” said Zuma.
Speaking on the inter-trade relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa, Zuma said the two countries presented investment opportunities in ICT, transport, water and mining sectors among others.
Zuma also noted that an enabling technical and transport infrastructure was critical to facilitating trade.
“An integrated Africa has a potential to see trade of about 2.6 trillion US dollars annually. Our two countries have paved way for regional integration.”
Zuma said Zimbabwe was South Africa’s largest trading partner on the continent.
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“Foreign Direct Investment from South Africa to Zimbabwe between 2003 and 2013 is estimated to be at 12.8 billion rand. This period also saw the creation of 2,400 employment opportunities.”
South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies weighed in, adding that there was need to ensure that local resources were beneficiated within the continent as this would see improved economic growth in the region.
Davies also urged investment in the domestic economies of the two respective countries saying industrialisation and economic growth was dependent on what happened internally.