South African economy

A Harvard professor’s damning take on the South African economy and where it all went so wrong. Image: Supplied/File/Fotor

A HARVARD professor’s damning take on South African economy

Harvard Professor Ricardo Hausmann says the South African economy is failing due to one key factor. Which is …

South African economy

A Harvard professor’s damning take on the South African economy and where it all went so wrong. Image: Supplied/File/Fotor

You don’t need to be a professor to figure out what’s wrong with the South African economy. But if you have one from Harvard University speaking honestly, it’s going to make headlines.

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According to a report from Daily Investor, Ricardo Hausmann from Harvard University has been able to pinpoint the exact moment the South African economy took a turn for the worse.


South African economy
Houses of parliament in Cape Town. Image: File

Hausmann says nearly two decades of power cuts, and the ANC government’s adherence to ‘hidebound ideology’, have de-industrialised the South African economy. The Harvard professor has studied the country for two decades and even advised the government.

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Speaking with the Centre for Development and Enterprise yesterday, Hausmann said de-industrialisation is a global phenomenon. However, the speed at which this happened within the South African economy is worse than he’s seen anywhere else on the globe.


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Picture: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“We found very strong evidence that this decline was strongly linked to the collapse in electricity provision,” Hausmann said. He further paints a picture of a South African economy dealing with self-inflicted problems and its citizens becoming progressively poorer by the year.

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Similarly, with one dominant party – the ANC – there’s been little political consequence for the collapse of state. South American nations like Chile and Colombia faced similar economic difficulties but worked their way out of trouble.  


A minibus taxi is seen at Joe Slovo taxi rank where four people were injured after a shooting. Image: Gallo Images/Jaco Marais

Other impediments to growth of the South African economy include poor public transport, corruption and an aversion to the import of foreign skills, says Hausmann. “South Africa cannot stop its talented people leaving. But it has also stopped talented people from the rest of the world from getting in, at an enormous cost,” Hausmann concluded.

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