500 Days of Economic Policy Action:
A Short-Term Policy Action Agenda for South Africa

CBPEP Colloquium
2-4 June 2021

panel summaries

Background

Economic Growth in South Africa since 1994 has on average rarely exceeded 2.5%.  Moreover, this sustained period of mediocre growth has in recent years been severely undermined by the steady demise of governance through a process commonly known as ‘state capture’.  In addition, the economy now faces the more immediate shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, just as the process of rolling back institutionalised corruption and formalising innovative economic growth plans has begun.  

What then, can be done in South Africa over the next 500 days?  If we were as a society to craft an integrated, short-term and practical set of growth, employment and development priorities, what would this look like?  Developing such a 500-day plan arguably goes to the heart of our long-run future as a country.

An action-focused colloquium

500 Days of Economic Policy Action:
A Short-Term Policy Action Agenda for South Africa

From 2-4 June 2021, we convened an online colloquium aimed at outlining a targeted agenda for promoting economic growth and employment in SA. Building on the productive discussions that took place at the 2020 CBPEP Colloquium on Employment Growth in South Africa, we brought together South Africa’s leading economic policy thinkers, senior government officials and social partners to provide action-oriented advice on a range of issues.

The programme also provided opportunities to explore private sector views on national priorities and for targeted discussions on key economic sectors, including mining and energy, telecommunications and digitisation, water and transport. 
Topics included:
The fiscal environment - consolidation, tax collection and spending efficiency
Infrastructure and the SOEs - opportunities for growth and employment in telecommunications, digital, energy, water and sanitation sectors
Private sector views on national priorities -
including banking, manufacturing, mining and the retail sectors
Innovation and structural reforms -the role and impact of Operation Vulindlela
Local economic and employment development - municipal debt and building state capacity

Objectives and impact

The aim of this colloquium is to outline a range of short-term, actionable policy interventions that, together, could place South Africa on a new growth trajectory to fuel economic recovery and create more jobs over the next 18 months.

Participants’ input will feed into key advisory fora – including the President’s Economic Advisory Council – and provide valuable insights to help inform the National Treasury’s Mid-Term Expenditure Framework, as well as the wider policy agendas of both government and the social partners.

Colloquium report and outputs to follow.

view the agenda

Day 1

2 June

Day 1 focused on South Africa's fiscal environment and what could be achieved in the next 500 days. This theme explored the national debt crisis and SOE deficits and looked at policy revisions for improved tax revenue collection and mapped paths to fiscal consolidation.

Agenda

Click to enlarge Day 1's Agenda. Click through on each speakers' name to watch their individual presentation.

Day 1 presentations

Watch the presentations from Day 1 here:

Day 2

3 June 2021

On Day 2, the CBPEP Colloquium focused on opportunities for growth and employment in telecommunications, digital, energy, water and sanitation sectors, and engaged with private sector views on national priorities including banking, manufacturing, mining and the retail sectors.

Agenda

Click to enlarge Day 2's Agenda. Click through on each speakers' name to watch their individual presentation.

Day 2 presentations

Watch the presentations from Day 2 here:

Day 3

4 June 2021

On Day 3, the CBPEP Colloquium focused on opportunities for streamlining local government processes and addressing obstacles that inhibit progress. The participants also engaged with ideas generated on how to build state capacity and address municipal debt.

Agenda

Click to enlarge Day 3's Agenda. Click through on each speakers' name to watch their individual presentation.

Day 3 presentations

Watch the presentations from Day 3 here:

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