Zuma: Cup to lift growth by 0.3%

Zuma: Cup to lift growth by 0.3%

2010-06-24 22:48

Toronto - President Jacob Zuma declared Africa "open for business" in an address to business leaders before the G20 meeting in Toronto, Canada, on Thursday.

Speaking at a lunch-time meeting, attended by Stephen Hayes, president and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa and Lucien Bradet, president and CEO of the Canadian Council on Africa among others, Zuma said Africa, as the third fastest growing region in the world - after China and India - surprised many as it fared better than most regions during the global financial crises and registered growth.

"There is every expectation that Africa's current pace of growth will remain at a high level, at around six percent per year," he said in a speech prepared for delivery.

He said the average growth last year for the advanced economies was about minus 2.5%, while that of Africa was two percent, and low income countries in Africa grew at over three percent.

"In South Africa, we are fortunate that we have been able to counteract the economic slowdown and its adverse effects," he said.

"This is thanks to good policies and regulations, business rescue programmes, job retention schemes and huge infrastructure programmes."

Zuma said the Soccer World Cup had already boosted South Africa's gross domestic product and additional spending by visitors and residents was expected to boost economic growth in the country by at least 0.3% this year. Zuma said the South African economy registered five percent growth in the first quarter of the year.

"Africa must now not be viewed as only a destination for development aid."

Zuma said at the political level, Africa had improved a lot since the end of the Cold War.

"The index of political freedom prepared by the think-tank Freedom House, shows that while less than a third of African countries were classified as free or partly free in 1990, today about two-thirds of African countries are considered free or partly free," he said, adding that there was a marked improvement in peace and security on the continent.

Fair trade

"What we have achieved is a real African rebirth in the true sense of the word. This should make African markets attractive to development partners in the North and the emerging South, including the international private sector," he said.

"We reiterate that Africa is open for business. It is open for trade and investment."

Zuma said Africa called for fair trade.

"Our movement forward will be greatly enhanced by the speeding up of economic reforms to enable more inclusive and faster growth," he said.

"It is our strong view that the United Nations and its member states must play a role in the ongoing international discussion on reforming and strengthening the international financial and economic system."

He said the continent supported the move to a more open, transparent and merit-based approach to choose the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

"When we raise these issues, we should not create the impression that we have come cap-in-hand to ask for favours," he said.

"The developing world has an equal right to direct the work of these institutions."

- Sapa

  • DeonL - 2010-06-25 08:07

    Job retention schemes? It was talked about and there were talks of job creation but it did not happen. Growth are probably due to temp. workers for SWC and the private sector, in August reality will struck again with slow or no growth.

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