File image: Reuters.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's official marketing agency said on Monday it welcomed a recent World Bank report which explored key development challenges and opportunities for the country and identified five binding constraints to tackling poverty and inequality.

The report, entitled ‘Systematic Country Diagnostic - An Incomplete Transition: Overcoming the Legacy of Exclusion in South Africa,’ found that the root causes of persistently high poverty, inequality, and unemployment were associated with the country's history of race-based exclusion.

It was prepared in consultation with national authorities and noted that while South Africa underwent a successful and peaceful political transition in 1994, too many people remained excluded from participating in the economy, "rendering the transition incomplete".

"As the World Bank report indicates, poverty has declined since 1994. This has been achieved through successful government interventions in the provision of water, electricity, sanitation, and housing," Brand South Africa general manager for research Petrus de Kock said.

"However, inequality, especially along racial and gender lines, has increased.”

The report recommends focusing on children and young adults as the most critical approach to addressing insufficient skills, and implementing reforms that can strengthen the asset base of the poor, while also increasing property security for investors to deal with the skewed distribution of land and productive assets and weak property rights.

It also suggests reforming transport-related state-owned enterprises, including greater private sector participation in order to grapple with low competition and low integration in global and regional value chains .

"Evident from the World Bank’s report is that we need to work as a collective and across all sectors to ensure that our policies encourage the growth and the enhancement of the (national brand) both internally and externally," de Kock said.

"Thus an enhanced reputation through clear interventions to tackle corruption, inefficiency, and unethical behavior in both the public and private sectors, can go a long way towards improving domestic- and international business confidence in South Africa."

Brand South Africa has a mandate to build the country's brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness.

 - African News Agency (ANA)