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Young blood to power Gauteng economy

Written by More Matshediso

SOPA

The provincial powerhouse turns to the youth for growing the country's wealth.

The Gauteng Provincial government is investing in youth empowerment to benefit  South Africa’s overall economic growth. Premier David Makhura said one of the major drivers of economic growth was infrastructure development

During the State of the Province Address, Gauteng Premier David Makhura highlighted education as the priority.

“Through education young people will be empowered to play a meaningful role in society and pursue their dreams, regardless of the circumstances of their birth,” said the Premier.

With regard to basic education, he said Gauteng runs the second largest public education system after KwaZulu-Natal, with enrolment having grown from 1.3 million in 1994 to 2.3 million in 2018.

Over the past five years approximately R1 billion has been spent on higher education bursaries, which have benefitted over 20 000 graduates. 

 

Job creation

Many South African youth struggle to enter the job market after completing their studies.

There are approximately two million youth in Gauteng and many of these are not employed or studying.

 

To help remedy the situation, Premier Makhura said several initiatives are underway:

  • The Ke Moja programme has reached more than one million young people, encouraging them to live clean, drug-free lives.
  • Since 2015, nearly 460 000 young people have benefitted from the Tshepo 500 000 flagship programme, which has been upgraded to Tshepo 1 Million. It has opened opportunities for youth in skills development, job placement and entrepreneurship.
  • The partnership between the provincial government, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and over 40 major private sector corporations is an example of a social compact.
  • Gauteng has partnered with technology companies to train young people in digital skills.

To eliminate unemployment in the province, the Premier said Gauteng needs to create 5 400 jobs per day.

Attracting investment

The Premier said “the new dawn heralds better prospects for our economy as investor and consumer confidence rises. It will also boost South African exports.”

Gauteng has intensified work regarding trade and investment activities in Africa.

  • In 2016, Gauteng attracted 75 foreign direct investments (FDIs) into its economy, worth R36 billion. These projects created over 9 350 jobs.
  • Between 2014 and 2016, the province attracted over 200 FDI projects worth R69 billion, which created 19 000 jobs.
  • With regards to intra-Africa trade, Gauteng is the leader. As of 2017, Gauteng companies had 169 projects worth R356 billion across the continent.
  • Gauteng accounts for roughly 71 percent of South Africa’s investment into  different regions of the African continent.
  • Intra-Africa trade generated 46 732 jobs in the Gauteng economy.
  • Trade between Gauteng and the rest of Africa strengthened by 19 percent between 2011 and 2016, from R204 billion in 2011 to R242 billion in 2016.

Infrastructure development

One of the major drivers of FDI and sustainable economic growth is the quality of infrastructure.

 Premier Makhura said sustained investment in world-class infrastructure stimulates growth, employment, spatial transformation and social integration by connecting communities and linking producers to markets. 

  • Since 2014, the Gauteng government and the private sector have invested over R40 billion in building and maintaining infrastructure, including schools, early childhood development centres, recreational facilities, libraries, clinics, hospitals, houses, roads and public transport.
  • The infrastructure investment projects have contributed to creating about 100 000 jobs.
  • There are over 1 500 infrastructure projects across the Gauteng City Region.

Revitalising township economies

The townships are the heartbeat of Gauteng, said Premier Makhura.

There will be major facelift in infrastructure and the look and feel of townships as part of the renewal and revitalisation programme.

  • Between 2014 and 2017, public procurement spend on township enterprises increased from R600 million to R17 billion.
  • The number of township enterprises doing business with the provincial government increased from 642 in 2014 to 4 182 in 2017.
  • The introduction of the Township Economy Awards stimulated huge interest amongst township businesses.
  • The partnerships between the provincial government and over 40 corporates are opening new opportunities for township-based businesses to participate in corporate supply chains, which plays a role in transforming township enterprises into more sustainable businesses without them having to rely on government contracts.
  • To date, Gauteng has 14 registered co-operative banking institutions serving over 16 000 member-owners, with over R100 million in savings and R150 million in assets.

“We are working with these institutions to ensure that they become future financial providers to township enterprises,” the Premier said.