South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma admits that the economy is struggling to regain its pre-financial crisis growth momentum.
Zuma spoke at a press briefing to address the progress of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). This is government’s action plan to grow the economy which was developed on the shoulders of the National Development Plan (NDP).
The president reflected that the 1.5 per cent growth attained at the end of 2014 was a far cry from the NDP ambitions for South Africa.
“Despite the slow growth globally, economic growth is expected to increase steadily to at least 3 per cent over the next three years, because we expect the electricity constraint, which is our major obstacle, to ease,” he said.
Zuma acknowledged that on estimation, electricity shortages are currently costing the economy close to one percentage point in economic growth.
However, despite this setback he offered the hope that exploration of various other options for electricity generation were underway, including cross-border projects within the SADC region that include hydro, gas and coal.
He provided an update on the country’s nine point plan that was announced during his State of the Nation. The plan aims at rejuvenating the agriculture and agro-processing value-chain, advancing beneficiation (adding value to our mineral wealth) and unlocking the potential of SMME, co-operatives as well as township and rural enterprises.
Zuma said government has been involved in discussions with the Business Working Group and agreements have been made toward the implementation of the nine point plan. “As a country we need to be more proactive and awake to opportunities.”
“As a collective effort, the nine point plan could potentially accelerate the growth of the economy by as much as 0.8 per cent in the short term and 1 per cent in the medium to long term, in addition to the projected growth of 2 per cent in 2015,” Zuma substantiated.