It is up to a new generation of economists to achieve equality and inclusive economic growth, according to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Gordhan addressed delegates of the National Treasury’s Public Economics Winter School, held at the University of Pretoria this week. He encouraged them to “build on the foundation laid by Mandela and Sisulu” to achieve social justice, not only for South Africa but the entire African continent.
“There is a great deal of hopelessness and lack of sense of direction among the poor,” he said.
“Where is this new generation and energy going to come from to evade this wave seeking to sink an equitable economy and the social justice system?” he asked, as he challenged the public economists to use their research to create social and economic transformation.
This would involve addressing growth, poverty and inequality. “Look at how research can influence day-to-day practice,” he said.
In a time of global uncertainty and economic crises, Gordhan said there were no easy answers for the complex issues such as growth and unemployment. Commenting on Brexit, he said that it introduced a new uncertainty to the political economy. “We are figuring what this decision means for global economics.”
He went on to add that in South Africa, the partnership between government, business and labour should convince people around the world that South Africa is still a country worth investing in.
“Despite the difficult environment we are living in, there are better yields from South Africa than many other places in the first world.”