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Ramaphosa: SA working to overcome '9 years of slow decline'

Oct 30 2018 17:57
Allison Jeftha and Jan Cronje, Fin24

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told a business breakfast in Germany that South Africa has suffered through 'nine years of slow decline'.

The president is in Germany for the G20 Compact with Africa Conference and a G20 Investment Summit. He has said he will use the opportunity to continue to drum up foreign investment in SA. 

Speaking at a breakfast hosted by Prof Heinz-Walter Grobe, chairperson of the sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business, Ramaphosa said South Africa and Germany continued to enjoy strong economic links, with South Africa continuing to serve a gateway to the rest of the African continent for German companies. 

He said that his administration was now dealing with fixing nine "very difficult years … of slow decline". 

According to a video posted by the presidency, "[G]overnance declined exponentially, corruption also set in, institutions were weakened in our country and the economy has also not been performing at a level that can sustain the lives of our people." 

It was not clear from his remarks why he referenced nine years, but the period coincides with the time Jacob Zuma served as South Africa's president. 

"During this period, we've continued to face challenges of unemployment, which is a huge problem in the lives of South Africans. We've got 27% of our people unemployed right now, and most of them are young. Inequality continues to be the worst in the world in terms of the Gini coefficient measurement, and poverty is still rife."

The president said the economic challenges facing South Africa could not be decoupled from the legacy of apartheid. "Quite a number of these things are a legacy of our past, the legacy of our past system of apartheid. We don’t want to continue loading a lot of blame on that, but that’s the reality that we are dealing with."

"We dealing with a system that was deliberately broken and an economy which was also deliberately broken in the sense that our economy never operated on all its cylinders, it was crafted to operate in a way that it only benefited a minority population."

Following the breakfast briefing, Ramaphosa was set to speak at the G20 Investment Summit. 

Ramaphosa on Monday held a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and attended a dinner hosted by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. 

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angela merkel  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  berlin  |  germany  |  sa economy


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