Bua Briefs 122

30 April 2008

Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA)

Two years since the inception of AsgiSA, the initiative has made definite strides towards achieving the goal of creating faster and shared growth in the country. The progress being registered by the initiative already shows a steady inclination towards achieving government’s electoral mandate to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014 – which can be achieved if the economy grows by at least 4,5% in the period up to 2009 and by an average of 6% in the period 2010 – 2014.

AsgiSA was initiated by government to boost the South African economy across all spheres and to remove the obstacles which impede faster and shared growth. The binding constraints on accelerated and shared growth are:

  • The capacity of the national infrastructure system
  • Shortage of skills and cost impact on low-skilled labour of the apartheid spatial system
  • Poor international competitiveness of much of our manufacturing and tradable services sectors
  • The relative volatility of the currency
  • The regulatory environment for small and medium-sized business
  • The capacity of government organs to support economic development.

The initiative is working – already tangible benefits are being realised on a macroeconomic level, towards achieving faster and shared economic growth

South Africa is on track to meet its targets for 2004 – 2009 of average economic growth of 4,5% or more a year. Overall, the economy grew by 5,4% in 2006 and by 5,1% in 2007.

Private investment grew at 14,8% and investment by public enterprises grew by 32,6% in 2007.

Real income per capita (average income per person) rose from R20 600 in 2001 to R25 840 in 2007. Real income per capita has been rising at around 4% per person annually since 2004.

The rate of unemployment fell from 31,2% in March 2003 to 23% in September 2007. This translates into an increase of about 1,8 million employed people in South Africa.

Positive progress is being recorded, especially in the area of infrastructure investment

AsgiSA’s R600-billion infrastructure investment between 2007 and 2011 for projects provide an enabling environment for investment and economic growth.

A significant portion of this infrastructure investment has been allocated to Eskom and Transnet (R114 billion and R69 billion respectively). Other major infrastructure projects include the De Hoop Dam in Limpopo, the King Shaka International Airport in KwaZulu-Natal, Moloto Rail Corridor in Mpumalanga and the Mzimvubu scheme in the Eastern Cape. Government has also invested in a wireless broadband network aimed at making business in the information and communications technology sector less costly. It will be operational by early 2009.


Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA)

JIPSA has successfully embedded itself in the drive for skills development and economic intervention. In its third and final year of operation, JIPSA has started the process of addressing scarce skills and addressing the constraints that impact negatively on our economic growth and development. The initiative has also been successful in creating partnerships with business, labour and the public sector in mobilising existing skills, and realigning all skills training regulations to the maximum benefit of the country.

In its initial 18-month mandate, JIPSA has achieved good progress in addressing the shortage of engineers in our country

JIPSA is gradually reaching its objectives to identify the critical skills required to grow the economy fast enough, and to absorb those in need of jobs and skills.

The Engineering Council of South Africa is strengthening the candidacy phase and registration of engineers. The enrolment of engineering students will increase from 500 to 2000 per year by 2010. In addition to an amount of R48 million provided in 2006, government has committed about R439 million between 2007 and 2009 towards improving teaching and learning infrastructure.

Government has published a revised scarce-skills list that includes a broad range of engineering categories ranging from chemical, material, civil to quality engineering, which is being actively promoted abroad.

Together with our partners, in their areas of specialisation, we are making good progress in developing our artisan and technical skills

Through the Draft Skills Development Bill of 2008 [PDF] 582 kb, we will strengthen our policy for artisan development.

JIPSA partners have agreed that the alignment of our training routes will consolidate artisan development through four very specific artisan training routes. These are learnerships, apprenticeships, recognition of prior learning and a national vocational certificate, including an internship or skills programme.

With the National Skills Fund allocating an additional R300 million for the training of a further 7 350 artisans, together we can address our country’s skills need.

Through agreements between government and the private sector to date, over 18 000 artisans have been registered, with an additional 20 000 learners registered in the period 2008 –2009.

INDLELA, our national artisan moderation body, will oversee the quality assurance of our artisan training programme. Through this moderation body, we are assured quality skills for a growing and shared economy.

Our national and international placement programmes are benefiting the country’s partnership for sustainable growth and development for mutual benefit

Our international partnerships are growing from strengthen to strength – increasing numbers of young female professionals are being placed in companies in countries abroad.

The Umsobomvu Youth Fund has made a grant available to enable a further 250 unemployed young people to join the Monyetla Programme, a joint pilot training partnership programme of the departments of trade and industry, and of labour, and the Business Trust. Through the programme, over 1 000 unemployed young people will be trained as call centre agents.

We have attracted back our retired professionals through the Siyenza Manje Programme – 118 professionals have been placed at over a 100 municipalities, offering various technical and financial expertise to accelerate infrastructure and development programmes.

JIPSA is achieving its objectives, working together with the private sector, local and international business and our partners. The experiences gained must inform our strategic interventions to address our country’s skills deficit.



The outcome of elections in Zimbabwe

The Southern African Development Community’s facilitation team is addressing the issue of violence and will continue to have a role following the announcement of the results in a situation that remains fragile and in which it remains as critical as ever that Zimbabweans work together to create conditions for the emergence of long-term peace, stability and reconstruction.

Workers’ Day

The Workers’ Day celebrations throughout the world take place against the background of high food prices, a global economic slow-down and national challenges such as the electricity emergency and interest rates hikes that are affecting our country.

JIPSA and AsgiSA reports present a mix of progress and challenges, while also highlighting areas of hope in the acquisition of critical skills that are important for us to reach the 6% shared economic growth by 2014.