3 July 2008Despite a global economic slowdown resulting largely from rising food and fuel prices, South Africa’s economy is resilient enough to deal with the unfolding economic climate.“We have a much stronger economy today then we did 10 years ago and increasingly we are showing resilience to global economic dips,” Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said in Johannesburg this week.“We do not believe our economy has reached a cul-de-sac.”He added that investment was increasingly was playing a greater role in the economic growth of South Africa.Speaking from the headquarters of Business Unity South Africa (Busa), Mpahlwa said South Africa was recently identified by a professor at the London School of Economics as one of four key emerging economies in the world, placing it alongside China, India and Brazil.Regionally significant and diverseSince the 1990s, South Africa has emerged as one of the most important developing economies within the global economy.“We might not have the size of China, India and Brazil, but we are regionally significant with a diverse and growing economy,” Mpahlwa said. “We need to make sure that we remain in the stream of fast-growing economies despite the challenging global economic environment.”To ensure diversification of exports, South Africa is currently in discussions with China to find ways in which to increase the market penetration of value-added goods into the Chinese economy.He added that South Africa was in the process of trying to change from being a majority exporter of raw materials to a supplier of value-added goods on a greater scale.Shifting trade patternsMpahlwa said that trade patterns were shifting at the moment, noting that Africa-Asia trade was starting to surpass Africa-European trade. “The trade balance is shifting more toward Asia, with an increase in trade between developing countries,” he said.Among the challenges facing the South African economy were insufficient energy to meet rising demand, a shortage of skills, and the need to increase productivity and boost infrastructure development.He pointed out that while the short-term solution was to import skills, this practice was not sustainable in the longer term and skills had to be developed locally.“The issue of insufficient energy, skills shortages, and infrastructure challenges is not unique to South Africa but is a global problem,” Mpahlwa added.Current account deficitSouth Africa’s widening account deficit came as a result of South African manufacturers already running at capacity and therefore not being able to deal with increased demand ahead of the massive infrastructure drive for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.South Africa was therefore forced to import goods to cover the local output shortage, Mpahlwa said, adding that local manufacturers needed to reinvest in capacity in order to meet the growing demand in the country.Another factor greatly affecting the current account deficit was the current record prices for crude oil.In the prevailing economic slowdown, it was imperative that South Africa did not lose focus of what it had set out to achieve. “Now is the time to commit ourselves to more vigorously pursue these objectives,” he said.Taking down barriersMpahlwa said the government’s response to the tightening economic conditions was to speed up industrial development, continue promoting small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), and further strengthen the state’s capacity to unlock the country’s economic potential.He added that regional integration within the Southern African Development Community also needed greater impetus, as all countries within the bloc needed to take advantage of the almost free trade environment that existed in order to maximise regional trade.Source: BuaNews
1 August 2012While Chad le Clos grabbed South Africa’s second gold medal in the swimming pool at the 2012 London Olympic Games on Tuesday night, some other South Africans put in good performances on the first two days of the week.The most impressive of those came on Tuesday afternoon from the men’s lightweight fours rowing team of Matthew Brittain, Lawrence Ndlovu, John Smith, James Thompson.They secured a place in the A final after a strong performance over the 2 000 metres distance in very testing, rainy conditions at Eton Dorney.Early goingDenmark, with four-time Olympic medallist and six-time world champion Eskild Ebbesen in their four, started strongly and forged an early lead, with South Africa in second place and world champions, Australia, in third. France, Italy and China filled the following three places.Australia made a move near the halfway mark to edge ahead of South Africa, as the two teams closed the gap on the Danes.Then, with 500 metres remaining, South Africa made a strong push, overhauling the world champions to finish less than a second behind Denmark.Having proved to be one of the six top teams in the world, the crew from Pretoria University has a decent opportunity to add to South Africa’s medal haul on Thursday.FinalApart from the Danes and the Aussies, they’ll be up against hosts Great Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands in the final.Gideon Louw, competing in the 100 metres freestyle, qualified for the semi-finals with the second-fastest time, a career best 48.29 seconds, despite having the second-slowest starting time out of all the swimmers contesting the event.Unfortunately, in the semis, his start was even worse than in the heats and he faced an uphill battle to make the final.Louw showed great speed to close down some of the ground he had lost at the start, but his time of 48.44 seconds meant he missed out on the title-decider by a single place.Proud exitSouth Africa’s women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, after two defeats, exited the Games proudly after holding Japan to a goalless draw.The Japanese, at number three in the world, were the highest ranked of the teams in South Africa’s pool, which also included world number four Sweden and world number seven Canada.The country’s men’s and women’s hockey teams found the going tough. The men were beaten 6-0 by world number one Australia, while the women fell 4-1 to New Zealand after a disappointing performance.Gideon van Zyl appeared to be well on top of Rustam Orujov of Azerbaijan before losing by ippon in the under-73 kilogram division of the judo competition.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
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