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Gordhan rethinks economic transformation

Johannesburg – To meet the ambitious target of growing the economy by seven percent per annum, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says the country should redefine its economic transformation strategy.

“We have to redefine economic transformation. We are merely mimicking what the previous elite did … we wear the same clothes and drive the same cars. Where is the social conscience of the new elite?” asked Gordhan, who was addressing the Investment Forum of the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals Student Chapter (ABSIP) at Wits University.

Last year, the minister said South Africa’s GDP needed a growth of seven percent in order to transform the economy. On Monday, the minister again pointed out that the South African economy cannot afford to grow between three and five percent.

“We need to find a new model of growth,” he said, adding that this was also needed to address economic inequality.

“It’s important to set the right aspirations for South Africa and to make sure our economy becomes globally competitive,” he told the two-day forum.

Investment was crucial for economic growth, Gordhan said, adding that the youth had a pivotal role to play.

“We are at a stage in our development where we clarify what we have to do,” he said at the talks titled “Awakening Investment Potential.”

Gordhan said the world was changing and beneficiaries should not just be the elite. In order to create an environment for investment, a county’s savings also played a role, said the minister.

“The challenge is whether a country has enough savings … There are serious imbalances of investment, savings and consumption. The question is how you rebalance. We have a serious savings gap; we don’t save enough in South Africa.”

On the matter of “hot” capital inflows into South Africa, the minister said these had appreciated the currency and created some instability.

There was also a need to create an environment where small business would flourish.

On the debate of nationalising the country’s mines, Gordhan said: “It is not our policy as South Africa. We have an important contribution to make to create the right climate for economic growth. We need to do what it takes to create the appropriate confidence in our economy.” – BuaNews