The Mercury

Goldman boss pushes SA to increase growth

- Slindile Khanyile

SOUTH Africa was as good as its growth and had to work hard to solidify its position as the market provider in Africa as prediction­s were already pointing to it being overtaken by Nigeria as the continent’s biggest economy by 2050, Colin Coleman, the head of Goldman Sachs in South Africa, said yesterday.

Speaking at the Internatio­nal Entreprene­urship and Investment Conference in Durban, Coleman said the country was a doorway to Africa and was well poised to take advantage of the global attention that the continent was receiving from countries seeking market entrance.

Recently, South Africa joined the Bric (Brazil, Russia, India and China) club of emerging markets.

Coleman said while South Africa did not have as big a population (50 million) as the other emerging markets and was not growing as fast (4.8 percent according to the latest figures), being a part of Africa made a huge difference. The continent’s total population was 1.2 billion and its economy was growing at 5.5 percent.

Major emerging nations such as China and India have population­s of 1.3 billion and over 1 billion, respective­ly, and were growing at 9 percent and just below 8 percent, respective­ly. Nigeria has 150 million people and its growth rate is standing at 7 percent.

Coleman said the Competitio­n Tribunal’s decision this week to approve the Walmart/ deal was a vindicatio­n of the stability of the local economy.

But he said there were a few things that South Africa could improve. These included infrastruc­ture, getting better outcomes from education and health, closing the inequality gap and creating more jobs to reduce the number of people relying on social grants.

The conference was hosted by KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Economic Developmen­t. MEC Mike Mabuyakhul­u said that Africa should embrace global nations such as China who were interested in investing in the continent.

However, he said Africans should be partners and not spectators in these deals.

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