It remains a real tragedy that we are not one of the world's top producers of solar power given the very favourable climatic conditions, says the writer. Picture: Supplied
South Africa is not asking the right questions about what is required to positively influence its economic and social trajectory. For too long, the debate has centred on what steps government should be taking to bed down pronounced levels of policy certainty and while this clearly matters, it isn’t what will singularly unlock a path to growth.

Growth is instead a collective responsibility and a collective result of new decisions and actions that challenge, improve and, where appropriate, disregard the status quo.

Taking back the locus of control is rather about how policy enables decisions instead of limiting the thinking behind them.

The emphasis must shift towards a collective effort to understand our environment to where we use science to solve and, as a result, to where we embrace what amounts to a new “rebel path” that enables our future.

There are three immediate opportunities to deliver growth in South Africa, but it requires us to acknowledge that rebel-type thinking.

The rebel path to unlocking access to low cost and ubiquitous energy is by investing in solar energy.

It remains a real tragedy that we are not one of the world’s top producers of solar power given the very favourable climatic conditions.

A rebel decision is to no longer invest massive amounts of capital in building traditional fossil-powered plants but, instead, scientifically planning how the same capital can be invested to effectively empower households to put up rooftop solar power that feeds the grid.

The rebels in all of us as South Africans would need to bravely disregard how municipalities earn revenue off electricity and rather focus our effort on calculating the offset value of investment in solar against the value of free capital this creates, as well as what this means in terms of municipal and public gain.

The rebel path to leapfrog technical readiness and competitiveness

According to a recent report produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, South Africa is ranked 42nd in its global technical readiness.

Contrary to this, South Africa is also ranked in the top 10 markets globally in terms of mobile penetration. Surely there is a measurable and defined solution on how we use high levels of mobile penetration to leapfrog how we embrace technology in our economy and society and promote ease of doing business.

So while we can acknowledge that to a large degree our telco landscape positions us for growth, it does raise some rebel questions about how we move faster to deliver 5G access, how we finally sort out spectrum access and lastly how we innovate to create a landscape that promotes investment and low latency internet coverage.

The rebel path to technology needs learning models that deliver the skills we will need well into the future. The implication of both rebel paths is the dire need to move the needle on education. We must embrace the rebel path that places technology learning methods and content at the centre, along with the appreciation that it is key to the exponential growth we need.

If South Africa is to emerge from its current growth “slump”, then it needs to begin to embrace what the rebel path to success looks likes.

South Africans are inherently can-do rebels by nature. Indeed, our inherent non-conformist nature and culture makes our society more amenable to pursuing the rebel path in making these things happen.

It is time to embrace the rebel path to growth and shared success.

* Andreas Cambitsis is Business Science Corporation's Applied CEO.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media

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