By Andrew Bahlmann
The following is my wish-list to change South Africa’s economic trajectory. Some are quicker to implement than others, and some are already showing signs of movement but could be accelerated:
By addressing these specific areas of concern, South Africa can remove barriers to growth, attract investments, and create the necessary infrastructure for sustained economic development.
While these steps may not address all of South Africa's economic challenges, they provide a starting point for targeted interventions that can yield tangible and quicker results. By implementing these practical measures, South Africa can set itself on a path towards economic transformation and sustainable growth.
1. Immediately reform Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) requirements:
Update BEE policies to encourage broader participation and remove barriers to entry for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), allowing them to compete effectively for government contracts and procurement opportunities.
Simplify BEE compliance processes, reducing administrative burdens for businesses while ensuring transparency and accountability.
2. Boost power transmission grid and Independent Power Producer (IPP) investment:
Accelerate the development and implementation of transmission infrastructure projects to strengthen the power grid and ensure efficient electricity distribution.
Facilitate greater involvement of IPPs by streamlining licensing processes, providing clearer regulatory frameworks, and promoting private sector investments in renewable energy projects.
3. Enhance road, rail, and harbour investment:
Increase public-private partnerships to fund and expedite road infrastructure projects, enhancing connectivity between major industrial hubs and improving transportation efficiency.
Prioritise investment in rail infrastructure to support the movement of goods and passengers, reducing congestion on roads and lowering transport costs.
Modernise and expand harbour facilities to accommodate larger vessels, improve logistics operations, and facilitate international trade.
Overall, prioritise the modernisation and expansion of major transportation hubs, such as ports, airports, and railways, to improve connectivity and enhance logistics efficiency.
4. Create more dedicated start-up incubators across the country that provide mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to funding for aspiring entrepreneurs.
5. Revamp TVETs and offer greater incentives for German-style apprenticeships: Re-evaluate the curriculum of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions to be led by industry needs - and not only offer it to disadvantaged school-leavers with poor basic numeracy and only interested in the stipend – and ensure graduates possess job-ready skills.
6. Fast-track work permit processing to try counter the extreme loss of skills to emigration: Streamline the process of granting work permits to foreign investors and skilled professionals, reducing administrative hurdles and encouraging foreign direct investment.
7. Create dedicated agencies to actively promote South Africa as an attractive investment destination, providing tailored support and information to potential investors.
8. Simplify and expedite the process of registering and starting a business, reducing bureaucratic requirements and minimising red tape.
9. Facilitate cross-border trade: Implement measures to streamline customs procedures, reduce trade barriers, and enhance border infrastructure to facilitate smoother trade and increase regional integration – in the same fashion as Zim borders has done at Beit Bridge.
10. Immediately end cadre deployment and strengthen anti-corruption efforts: Establish specialised anti-corruption task forces with sufficient resources and authority to investigate and prosecute corrupt practices, ensuring transparency and deterring fraudulent activities.
Andrew Bahlmann is the CEO of corporate and Advisory Deal Leaders International.