S/African gov’t, business agree to rebuild economy

South African business met with President Cyril Ramaphosa, his ministers and the premiers of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces on Tuesday…

South African business met with President Cyril Ramaphosa, his ministers and the premiers of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces on Tuesday to discuss last week’s events and see how the two groups could work together to rebuild the country’s economy.In a statement, the presidency said the meeting reflected on the challenges faced by key industries and discussed priorities and measures that needed to be taken to rebuild and reposition the country. 

“Business made practical suggestions for immediate recovery steps, support to small businesses and longer term inclusive economic growth,” the presidency said.  

It said Ramaphosa outlined his government’s priorities during the meeting, “including the restoration and maintenance of stability with the increased deployment of security personnel; securing essential supplies by opening critical supply routes; provision of relief and support for rebuilding; and accelerating inclusive economic recovery.”

According to the presidency, the meeting also focused on rural and township economies, as well as increased investment in infrastructure development.

The meeting discussed steps to assist companies, particularly small businesses, to claim insurance and access other support measures, it said. 

“The meeting agreed on the need to work with greater urgency to tackle poverty and unemployment, and improve the living conditions of all South Africans,” the high office said.

It added: “Among other things, this requires a common effort to mobilise investment, develop appropriate skills, and create opportunities for young people in particular.”

Ramaphosa welcomed proposals raised by the business leaders and their commitment to work with government, labour and communities,  the presidency said.

The security situation would have severe humanitarian, economic and social consequences for a long time to come, it noted.

“There is virtually no part of the economy that has not been affected by the violence. There is probably no part of the country that will not feel the effects, in some form or another, because of the way our supply chains work,” the presidency said, quoting the president.

However, government and business leaders should build a social contract to respond to the crisis, and to rebuild an economy that was far more resilient, sustainable, dynamic and inclusive, the presidency said.

Representatives from retail, agriculture, automotive, telecommunications, banking and transport were at the meeting with Ramaphosa.

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