Goldman boss pushes SA to increase growth
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.