SA most business-friendly Brics nation
Cape Town - A World Bank report has ranked South Africa the best among Brics country for ease of doing business, ahead of powerhouses China and Russia.
The report ranks SA 34th, ahead of fellow Brics nations China (79), Russia (123), Brazil (127) and India (134).
Higher rankings indicate simpler regulations and procedures for international business practices, as well as international investor trust.
Nils Flaatten, CEO of Western Cape trade and promotion investment agency Wesgro, has warned that while SA leads the Brics nations in terms of investor trust and corporate governance procedures, job creation is crucial to the country's economic growth.
"South Africa's business ranking is something to be proud of. We have the second most stable financial system in the world and our sophisticated and established regulatory structures make us trustworthy in the eyes of investors.
"We are ranked number 10 globally for investor protection, which is leagues ahead of the other Brics nations. However, we need to ensure that our economic growth translates into job creation and job absorption,” Flaatten said at a recent University of Stellenbosch Business School Careers Fair.
South Africa's official jobless rate currently stands at 24.9%, one of the highest in the world, with 4.47 million people without jobs.
"Although this is a welcomed announcement, the global trend predicted for the next few years is declining demand and trade, which will negatively impact employment.
"The world is being challenged to create 600 million jobs over the next decade. In sub-Saharan Africa it is expected that the employment rate will stagnate in the coming years, remaining at the current 3.0% growth rate until 2016," he said.
A recent report by the World Bank indicated that the richest 10% of South Africans contribute 58% to the country's economy, while the bottom half - which earns less than 8% of the nation's income - contributes 0.5%.
South Africa will struggle to grow the economy until its riches are spread more evenly, the report said.
Flaatten said this was not a sustainable balance.
"There is a strikingly high disparity between rich and poor in this country. Almost 50% of our economy is service-orientated, but it is the manufacturing sector that is responsible for sustainable job creation.
"We need to ask ourselves whether our service economy is ensuring enough job opportunities, especially with our schooling system putting more matriculants into the SA economy every year," he said.