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GDP figures a promising sign

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures released by Statistics South Africa earlier today, which show the economy grew by 3.1 percent from April to June 2019.

He described the Stats SA figures, which come on the eve of South Africa’s hosting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa in Cape Town, as a promising sign of improved economic performance.

“We are delighted with the announcement that economic performance was much better [in Quarter 2] than in the earlier quarter,” said the President, adding that this growth had been achieved in various economic sectors on which government would focus in future.

“This is good news that is sorely needed, as we will be talking more and more about opportunities for South Africa, having adopted the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, which is due to be a major boost for the economic fortunes of our country across a number of sectors.”

The President said South Africa would leverage the free trade agreement – that provides access to a market with a population of 1.2 billion people – to “catapult various sectors of our economy to higher levels of growth”.

South Africa’s hosting of WEF Africa is a platform for a “much broader, Africa-centric look at economic growth beyond our own shores, and how, through trade and investment, we can take up various opportunities that lie ahead”.

WEF Africa will get underway from Wednesday until Friday, under the theme of ‘shaping inclusive growth and shared futures in the fourth industrial revolution’.

President Ramaphosa invited South Africans to join in the discussion around the economic policy paper published earlier this month by the National Treasury.

He said all perspectives and comments on the paper would be welcomed and will enrich the debate around the appropriate economic strategy South Africa should be pursuing in the current climate.

The paper titled: ‘Economic transformation, inclusive growth, and competitiveness: Towards an economic strategy for South Africa’, is an attempt to translate the broad outcomes of inclusive growth, economic transformation, and competitiveness into specific programmes and draw on a range of domestic and international literature to support these policy priorities.

The paper is a detailed examination of the structural reforms that can reverse the downward trend in South Africa’s growth potential and competitiveness.

Comments may be sent to Rita.Coetzee@treasury.gov.za by 15 September 2019.

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