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Xenophobia: No country can prosper on its own, says Massmart chair

Sep 10 2019 21:30
Sibongile Khumalo
A police officer walks through the Johannesburg ci

A police officer walks through the Johannesburg city centre on September 2 after shops were set alight and goods looted. Photo: Felix Dlangamandla

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Massmart chair Kuseni Dlamini has joined a chorus of business leaders condemning the recent wave of attacks against foreign nationals in South Africa, saying "no country can prosper on its own".

Speaking at the Moody’s Sub-Saharan Africa Summit on Tuesday, Dlamini said bold leadership was required to drive the narrative that Africans need to co-exist, in order to take on the world.

"Not one African country can prosper on its own. That is why I have been very saddened by the violence against foreign nationals in our country," he said. 

"South Africa can’t take the world on its own."

The violence which erupted in different areas in Johannesburg and Pretoria has been widely condemned by political and business leaders, leading to retaliation against SA businesses operating in other parts of the continent. MTN and Multichoice operations in Nigeria came under attack from angry locals, while some Shoprite supermarkets in Zambia were looted.

A new focus

The Moody's conference discussed various growth-related subjects, as well as fiscal outlook for South Africa. The ratings agency revealed that it had revised the country's growth forecast for 2019 from 1% to 0.7%.

Growth in the G20 emerging market economies will decline from an estimated 5.1% in 2018 to 4.4% in 2019, Moody's said.

Responding to SA's low growth trajectory and high unemployment, Dlamini said interventions aimed at boosting the economy required "single-minded focus" with policies geared towards improving investor confidence and job creation.

Dlamini also urged private companies to invest in the upskilling of their workforce, particularly the youth, to prepare for disruption brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He said companies no longer invested in their employees like they used to, adding that there was a need for a "massive re-skilling revolution" if Africa was to improve its competitiveness.

"New jobs are being created as a results of the disruption that is takes place, therefore we need to reposition ourselves."

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