File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

HIP Alliance to help create economic opportunities after SA unrest

By Shannon Ebrahim Time of article published Aug 5, 2021

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Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni engaged with the Hellenic, Italian and Portugese (HIP) Alliance on Tuesday, calling on them to assist the government in creating economic opportunities in the wake of the recent unrest in the country.

“You represent an entrepreneurial community who can mentor young people, women and small businesses in our country, and assist them to find economic opportunities,” Ntshavheni said.

“We can’t solve our problems through donations, we need to build our own enterprises so that local produce from vegetable gardens can be sold at Spar and Pick n Pay. People need to be trained to run their own enterprises, and mentored on how to aggregate their volume.”

Ntshavheni emphasised that small businesses account for 10% of total employment in South Africa, whereas in other countries it is 40-60%, and that it is small businesses that will get us on a growth trajectory.

In a robust engagement, Ntshavheni lamented that inequality and racism remained huge challenges 27 years into democracy, with the economy still belonging to the minority.

“We need to build a society of equals. When South Africa grows it is a magnet for sister countries. The re-industrialisation of South Africa will assist the re-industrialisation of the African continent, which is why we are going to host an SMME Summit for 28 African countries.”

The minister encouraged the Hellenic community to assist small businesses in forging partnerships and linkages with the network of HIP communities in other countries.

Stavros Nicolaou, the chairperson of the HIP Alliance, which hosted the virtual engagement, acknowledged the role of government as an enabler, but emphasised the private sector's key role in providing jobs and creating economic opportunities.

In terms of a role for the HIP Alliance, he stressed the need to build an inclusive middle class that will provide opportunities for everyone.

Nicoloau outlined a three point plan that could take the country forward.

“We need to accelerate structural reforms to make our logistics systems more efficient, and we need to spend more of our higher and basic education budget to help create entrepreneurs.

“We need to exercise greater fiscal discipline at the macroeconomic level, but what is essential is to redouble our efforts at building social cohesion, which is essential to implement localisation,” he said

The HIP Alliance is a group of socially sympathetic business persons and professionals from the Hellenic (Greek and Cypriot), Italian and Portugese communities of South Africa.

Their focus is on bridging the gap between government and the HIP communities, and promoting active citizenry.

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