With two successive quarters of economic contraction, the announcement of an economic stimulus package is one well welcomed across the country. We also want to ensure that this first shot is the sweetest, and don’t want to fool ourselves in believing that it’s a given in getting us to economic prosperity or that it is not the first of many. How then do we ensure that we take full advantage of the first fix? Knowing that such a reprioritization and cash injection does not necessarily mean immediate economic returns; civil society and business must actively collaborate with government in navigating out of this current abyss.
Within the R50 billion reprioritization, the President not only commits to reducing the cost of doing business (electricity and port tariff adjustments) but has also included a bottom-up approach, where township and rural economies, with a special emphasis on women and children take centre stage. Yet again, thank you Mr. President your hybrid cocktail in principle sounds like a good one. In principle this double-edged approach should ensure inclusive economic growth that benefits the socially and geographically excluded.
It should be noted here that inclusive growth is a challenge faced not only by South Africa, but has manifested globally as a result of the continued failures of trickle-down economics. As part of a viable growth plan, concrete steps must be taken within the existing policy frameworks to drive socio-economic development to those that most need it because at the end of the day we need a broader tax base.
Sometimes opportunities are missed because, they are dressed in overalls anddemand a salaryadvance,but here we stand as a country at an opportune juncture to drive growth through bridging our socio-economic gap. Here we stand with legislation that supports procurement from local and township economies, legislation that supports up-skilling of women and youth and legislation that encourages investment in socio-economic development.
So our call as youth is for business to find ESD, SED and SD programmes that will ensure that our latest adrenaline shot is maximized. For instance programmes such as the Tshokoma led Mosadi Market which is a women-centred ESD programme that empowers female entrepreneurs by providing innovative platforms and creating ecosystems of young female entrepreneurs and providing them with access to markets through live markets and an E-commerce platform. These programmes have the ability and proven track record to create a number of jobs for young people by providing support and assistance to small businesses.