Panel 4: What Role Does the State Need to Play to Further Unlock Employment Opportunities in Sectors with High-Growth Potential?

P4.1 Logistics as a Catalyst for Economic and Employment Growth

Derek Thomas, Letsema

Summary: Logistics enables competitive connectivity with the world, and along with complementary investment can drive diversification of the economy and employment in South Africa. Exploring specific corrective measures that need to be implemented immediately and key opportunities that can be exploited, this commentary highlights the importance of a capable state, institutional reform and the involvement of the private sector to plan and implement a world-class national logistics system.

"Logistics enables competitive connectivity with the world. Our employment imperative can only be solved by using logistics with complementary investment to drive a broad-spectrum diversification of the economy."

- Derek Thomas, Letsema

"Logistics enables competitive connectivity with the world. Our employment imperative can only be solved by using logistics with complementary investment to drive a broad-spectrum diversification of the economy."

- Derek Thomas, Letsema

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P4.2 Tourism

Kate Rivett-Carnac, Independent Consultant

Summary: The travel and tourism sector accounts for a large number of jobs in South Africa and the sharing economy has further increased participation in the sector, as well as raised new policy questions. This commentary explores various barriers affecting the growth of tourism in South Africa, a topical one being COVID-19 which is currently decimating global tourism. Others include negative brand perceptions of the country and access barriers such as the need for visas. Recommendations for employment creation include ways to safeguard the tourism sector during the COVID-19 crisis and labour-intensive approaches to addressing the safety and security concerns of tourists.

"A deliberate programme, possibly an incentive, is required to support the development and packaging of new and existing attractions and experiences for growth markets and underserved market segments."

- Kate Rivett-Carnac, Independent Consultant

"A deliberate programme, possibly an incentive, is required to support the development and packaging of new and existing attractions and experiences for growth markets and underserved market segments."

- Kate Rivett-Carnac, Independent Consultant

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P4.3 The Chemical Sector

Dr Rod Crompton, WITS Business School

Summary: All sectors of the economy use chemicals, they are the hidden enablers of economic development. Exploring key opportunities in renewable energy, and constraints related to petrochemicals, this commentary discusses the details of how South Africa might increase employment in the chemical sector by exploiting South Africa’s comparative advantages and moving it towards lower carbon intensity feed stocks and the need for policy interventions to enable this.

"Chemicals are the hidden enablers of economic development, the “lubricants” that make modern economic activity possible."

- Dr Rod Crompton, WITS Business School

"Chemicals are the hidden enablers of economic development, the “lubricants” that make modern economic activity possible."

- Dr Rod Crompton, WITS Business School

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P4.4 Global and Regional Value Chains and Employment and Growth Opportunities for South Africa

Prof Mike Morris, University of Cape Town

Summary: Global value chains drive industrialisation activities and are themselves driven by powerful lead firms. From an industrial policy perspective, to stimulate economic growth and create employment, gaining participation of multinational lead firms is an important part of the process. Exploring challenges, opportunities and lessons through the renewable energy sector in South Africa, this commentary suggests that from a global value chain perspective there is a need for decisive political intervention to overcome relevant economic problems.

"What is required is a fundamentally new approach to Eskom, unbundling it and finding ways to shift its massive corruption induced debt from national players to include global ones."

- Prof Mike Morris, University of Cape Town

"What is required is a fundamentally new approach to Eskom, unbundling it and finding ways to shift its massive corruption induced debt from national players to include global ones."

- Prof Mike Morris, University of Cape Town

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