South Africa sets up robust team to drive post COVID-19 economic recovery

Hard work begins

South Africa’s National Economic Development and Labor Council (NEDLAC) – comprising government, labor, business and community as social partners – has set up a high-level working team to drive post COVID-19 economic recovery.

Chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the NEDLAC Forum for Economic Recovery met virtually on Thursday, August 13, 2020, to discuss how South Africa can extricate itself from economic difficulties that have been worsened by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington DC, the presidency in South Africa said the team believes that the economic crisis is increasing levels of vulnerability including extreme poverty and hunger and that measures are required to stem further declines in GDP, a worsening of the budget deficit and deeper job losses”.

Social partners also agree that the fight against corruption must be intensified to ensure that wrongdoing does not undermine the economic recovery effort itself.

The presidency added: “Social partners have developed a significant degree of convergence and commonality on the grave nature of the economic challenge, and the need to identify priority interventions and act urgently to move the economy forward.

“Consensus is emerging on what to do to achieve economic recovery, transformation, inclusive growth and globally competitive economy.

“To deepen consensus and advance to action, NEDLAC constituencies will nominate senior leadership to serve on a team that will over the next three weeks draw up a set of priority actions for economic reconstruction and the institutional arrangements to support these actions.

“These arrangements will build on the foundation of the work done by social partners on implementing the agreements reached at the Presidential Job Summit in 2018  and will include transforming the current Presidential Working Committee on the Jobs Summit into a Presidential Working Committee on Economic Recovery.

“The team will focus on such areas as job creation, having a sectoral approach, prioritizing infrastructure, the need for urgent attention on energy security and working on the bottlenecks to economic growth. 

“There is broad agreement that proposals for economic recovery need to be underpinned by immediate measure to protect jobs and livelihoods and building a capable state.

“The team will present NEDLAC and the President with an economic recovery action plan that will be submitted to Cabinet for endorsement.

“President Ramaphosa underlined the shared responsibility faced by government, labour, business and community to address the challenges facing the country and commended social partners on being united in this effort.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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