Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Pretoria at the conclusion of her visit to South Africa:
"I wish to thank President Ramaphosa, Governor Kganyago, who is also the IMFC Chairman, as well as Minister Patel, Minister Davies and other senior officials for their warm hospitality and our productive exchange of views during my visit to Pretoria. I would also like to express my gratitude to all stakeholders with whom I met, including women leaders, youth leaders, and civil society.
"South Africa has immense economic potential, including a young and dynamic population. The country has made substantial progress over the past quarter of a century, achieving much improved living standards for its citizens. There is a lot to be proud of.
"At the same time, South Africa is at crossroads. The country faces challenges to raise growth and create more jobs, particularly for the youth. It also needs to address the too-high levels of unemployment, poverty, and inequality.
"It is thus urgent to advance broad-based, albeit at times difficult, reforms to reignite growth and ensure that all South Africans share the benefits, irrespective of their race, age, or gender. And this needs to be done in the context of a very challenging external environment for emerging markets that calls for increased vigilance and rebuilding of policy buffers.
"Policy actions are needed to reignite inclusive growth. An important reform relates to fostering competition in the economy to attract private investment. There is also a need to strengthen public finances to stabilize debt at more comfortable levels by making expenditure more efficient, growth-friendly, and inclusive.
"Additionally, improving the operational efficiency and financial situation of state-owned enterprises to raise competitiveness and contain fiscal risk is essential. Finally, improving financial inclusion and continuing to identify and address corruption through increased transparency and accountability, and the rule of law, are also priorities.
"I agreed with the authorities to enhance the excellent policy dialogue that we have together.
"Once again, I would like to thank the government and people of South Africa for their warm welcome."