Growth would fix SA fi­nan­cial woes

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - Caster Semenya LESEGO MAKGATHO


PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa said at the 2018 Dis­cov­ery Lead­er­ship Sum­mit that he was happy that the gov­ern­ment and busi­ness were no longer en­e­mies. He said while eco­nomic growth was vi­tal for ef­forts to re­duce poverty, cre­ate em­ploy­ment and bet­ter the lives of all peo­ple, it wasn’t suf­fi­cient to cre­ate an equal so­ci­ety. “If we are to achieve a South Africa that is free, equal and pros­per­ous, we must strive for growth that is in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able,” said Ramaphosa. ECO­NOMIC growth is es­sen­tial to turn the cor­ner from the cur­rent fi­nan­cial prob­lems fac­ing the coun­try. This was one of the themes at the 2018 Dis­cov­ery Lead­er­ship Sum­mit held in Sand­ton, Joburg, on Thurs­day.

Var­i­ous play­ers in the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors, in­clud­ing for­mer US pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and African Rain­bow Min­er­als founder and chair­per­son Pa­trice Mot­sepe, un­packed their in­sights, ex­per­tise and strate­gies on is­sues re­lat­ing to gov­er­nance, busi­ness, eco­nom­ics and sci­ence.

One of the key­note speak­ers, for­mer US first lady and se­na­tor Hil­lary Clin­ton, said a healthy so­ci­ety could be com­pared to a three­legged stool which stands when there is a func­tion­ing, ef­fec­tive and hon­est gov­ern­ment; a pro­duc­tive, dy­namic and suc­cess­ful pri­vate sec­tor; and a flour­ish­ing civil so­ci­ety.

“The legs have to be sta­ble and equal. And they are un­equal in most of the world. There is work for all of us to do,” said the for­mer US pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

Asked by Dis­cov­ery chief ex­ec­u­tive Adrian Gore about their world view, the Clin­tons said they were hope­ful about democ­ra­cies around the world. But they cau­tioned against un­governed tech­nol­ogy and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence pos­si­bly threat­en­ing job se­cu­rity in economies such as South Africa.

“I think what we’re go­ing to find out in the next 25 years is this burst of democ­racy and com­fort with di­ver­sity, and the re­straints of democ­racy bring­ing peo­ple to­gether. Life is hard, but it’s an ex­cit­ing time. Over­all, the world is in a pretty good place and the prob­lems are not in­sol­u­ble,” said the for­mer US pres­i­dent, cit­ing ex­tended life ex­pectancy and re­duced in­fant mor­tal­ity, among other things.

“When Pres­i­dent Man­dela and I started out on Aids, there was no global fund on Aids and TB, or malaria, nor (the Bill and Melinda) Gates Foun­da­tion. Peo­ple are now liv­ing longer with treat­able con­di­tions,” said Clin­ton.

In the same breath, Clay­ton Chris­tensen In­sti­tute re­search fel­low and Har­vard alum­nus Efosa Ojomo said af­ford­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity were the key to in­no­va­tion that drives growth.

“When we looked at the US, Europe, and Ja­pan, mar­ket-cre­at­ing in­no­va­tion was a stan­dard cat­a­lyst for growth in the econ­omy and in the pros­per­ity of peo­ple,” he said.

Chris­tensen, re­garded as one of the most in­flu­en­tial busi­ness the­o­rists of the last half cen­tury, echoed Ojomo. “In­no­va­tion al­ways comes be­fore de­vel­op­ment that has the po­ten­tial to cre­ate pros­per­ity. This pros­per­ity does not come from re­sources, but is rooted in mar­ket-cre­at­ing in­no­va­tion,” he said.

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