Gauteng MEC Kgosientso Ramokgopa

Photo: mLab Southern Africa via Flickr

Gauteng economy development lagging behind population growth

Economic development could be hamstrung in Gauteng if growth is not brought in line with the pace of population increase.

Gauteng MEC Kgosientso Ramokgopa

Photo: mLab Southern Africa via Flickr

Gauteng member of the executive council for economic development Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has revealed that the pace of population growth in Gauteng which is having a detrimental impact on economic development.

Gauteng population growth

In his budget speech, Ramokgopa claimed Gauteng’s population is outgrowing its economy, which is placing huge pressure on infrastructure and basic services.

This, in turn, hampers economic growth even further, potentially creating a negative spiral that could get out of control unless it is addressed soon.

Ramokgopa believes the burden can be lifted somewhat if more is done to assist local businesses to thrive.

“In our many engagements, as well as the thousands of social media comments, the sentiment that two of the major impediments for black business is growth and access to capital on the one hand and market access, is pervasive,” he said.

“The state needs to be aggressive in asserting its redistributive capacity both through legislative instruments and state procurement in a manner that direct investments in the economy in such a manner to undermine the structural faultlines of an economy that was historically designed to exclude the black and particularly the African majority.”

Support for SMMEs

To this end, Ramokgopa said the province’s economic development department would be producing a policy proposal to introduce a Gauteng Township Development Bill and attempt to set up a community financing instrument to assist small, medium, and micro-sized black-owned businesses to secure lending.

He also praised technology company Vumatel for spearheading a R2 billion township internet fiber rollout and pointed towards the burgeoning tourism sector as a potential growth area for enterprises in the province.

“Unlocking this growth will require investment in tourism product development, upgrading of the existing product offering and diversifying our basket beyond Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) into the realm of leisure tourism,” he said.