In his address to Cabinet during the 2014/15 medium term budget policy statement on last week, finance minister Nhlanhla Nene said South African firms are expanding investment and business partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa, giving impetus both to regional development and export growth.
Nene said Africa is the fastest growing region in our trade portfolio, and offers many opportunities for domestic producers to diversify.
Here’s how he summed up the main economic sectors’ activities:
Transport and communications
– Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa concluded a R53 billion contract to replace over 500 commuter trains over the next ten years.
– Transnet is expanding and improving infrastructure and services. New public transport systems are being constructed in cities.
– Telecommunications investment is steadily improving the quality and coverage of broadband networks.
– Manufacturing will see government helping companies to enhance their competitiveness and upgrade equipment through the Industrial Policy Action Plan.
– A new framework allows for targeted incentives, logistics improvements and active partnerships between businesses, municipalities and development agencies.
– This sector has seen strong increases in maize and livestock production this year and notable growth in exports of citrus, wine and horticulture products.
– Links between emerging farmers and produce markets need to accompany an improved alignment between land reform and agricultural support programmes.
– Mining modernisation is not just about new technologies but also involves housing investments, social development and improved processes for dispute resolution.
– Government recognises the need for a new accord between producers, organised labour, government and local communities.
– The sector has one of the largest renewable energy programmes in the world, with over 60 wind and solar power projects underway.
– Extension of independent power producer programme is underway to include 2500 MW of coal projects and 800 MW of cogeneration projects and connect to the national grid.
– The sector has the twin peak reforms to improve consumer protection and safeguard investments are underway. These will include attention to unfair lending and debt recovery practices.
– Government is working with Nedlac partners to promote retirement reforms. Initiatives to encourage saving are in progress.
– The shift away from exchange controls to more appropriate prudential standards will continue, including simpler administrative requirements.