South Africa: Treasury Jobs Plan Will Be Fruitless Unless Trade Barriers Are Tackled

opinion

If the government is genuinely committed to its new plan for economic growth, tackling unfair trade restrictions is the only way to deliver its promise to create jobs.

The new economic plan proposed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni last week provided some welcome good news for the South African agricultural sector. Among many laudable objectives and sound proposals, it sets a target of boosting agricultural exports by R6-billion over the next 10 years.

The aim to increase exports is part of an overarching strategy to increase economic growth by 2.3% and create one million new jobs within a decade. This is bold and exciting stuff. It offers a sense of direction and purpose for our country at a time when it is sorely needed.

I was in Japan when Treasury's report was published, and the timing could not have been better: we were there as part of the business delegation accompanying President Cyril Ramaphosa as he embarked on bilateral trade talks in Yokohama.

In Japan, much was made of South Africa's position as a gateway to Africa. With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in place this could lead to even greater benefits for South African ports, infrastructure and related...

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