South African Leaders Urged To Learn From South Korea And Singapore

South Africa
Electricity pylons are seen along the cooling tower of the defunct Orlando Power Station in Soweto, South Africa, June 28, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo)

South Africa's economic growth has been declining since 2000 and economists are urging leaders to learn from the economic strategies that Singapore and South Korea displayed for economic development.

In an entry for BizNews, a faculty member at the Gordon Institute of Business Science Marius Oosthuizen noted that both Singapore and South Korea identified their strategic competitive advantage that set them apart from other countries.

According to Oosthuizen, South Africa's leaders can adopt the reforms and steps that the two countries took so they will join the ranks of nations with the highest nominal GDP per capita.

For Oosthuizen, South Africa should recognize that state planning can go hand-in-hand with private businesses to develop initiatives aimed at boosting the economy. He added that leaders should consider wage reforms and improvements to the education system.

Among the issues that South Africa's economy faces is low consumer confidence. Earlier this week, a survey compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research indicated that consumer confidence in the country dropped significantly to +2 in Q1 2019.

According to Reuters, the index suggested that many consumers have a neutral outlook on the South African economy. Economists said the slip in consumer confidence was largely affected by load-shedding sets by Eskom in February and March.

South African consumers are getting more and more concerned about the economy, especially with upcoming elections igniting uncertainties about whether elected leaders will live up to their commitments or not.

A recent report by Eunomix Business & Economics Ltd. further revealed that South Africa's economy for over a decade now is the worst among nations that aren't suffering through wars. The report said the downtrend is expected to keep up as corruption from previous administrations continues to loom over the government.

Aside from the South African economy being fragile, some analysts predicted that incumbent president Cyril Ramaphosa will most likely have a one-term rule. "He is starting with a very weak economy, the weakest of any president since Mandela," head of Eunomix, Claude Baissac, noted.

When Nelson Mandela took office in 1994, the South African people rejoiced and hopes were high for significant changes. While Mandela was able to drive economic growth in the country post-apartheid, the succeeding administrations were overtaken by corruption.

The issues that administrations faced post-Mandela included high unemployment rates across South Africa that hampered economic growth. Analysts stressed that the government should explore ways to boost job creation so this segment can keep up with the country's ballooning labor force.

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