File picture: Nic Bothma/EPA

In the week South Africans came together to talk about ways to create more jobs, America announced that unemployment had fallen to its lowest point in almost 50 years.

Only 3.7% of Americans applied for unemployment benefits last month. With so many people earning money and looking to spend it, it’s no wonder the American economy is booming.

Compare that to our unemployment figure of 27.2% and it quickly becomes clear why our economy is in a technical recession.
This week another set of numbers were released which could provide further insight into why South Africa is struggling to create jobs.
Every year Interbrand, a brand consultancy business, identifies the 100 top brands in the world. 

This week it announced that Apple clinched the top spot for 2018.
Apple is an American company and this year became the first publicly listed company to be valued at over a trillion dollars. That’s over 14 times more than what our entire country collects in taxes.

But back to the world’s top brands: Google and Amazon, both American companies, clinched second and third spots.
Seven of the top 10 brands in the world were American, the others being Microsoft, Coco-Cola, Facebook and McDonald’s. Only three were not American; Samsung (South Korea), Toyota (Japan) and Mercedes-Benz (Germany). 

However, not a single South African brand made it into the top 100 and we need to question why.
Is it now time for a summit, like the Jobs Summit, to focus on ways of growing South African companies?

We have done a lot to help small businesses create work for small numbers of people. We have spoken little about growing our existing companies into powerful global brands that can create work for thousands of people.

It is important that we work towards our goal of reducing unemployment to 6% by 2030. It is equally important that we focus on ensuring we build one of our companies into one of the world’s top 100 brands by the same year.
It will go some way to solving our economic woes.

The Sunday Independent