South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday urged stakeholders to examine areas where transformation has been slow and implementation has been weak as the country reflected on progress in transforming racialized economy.
There are now more than 300,000 black entrepreneurs who own over half of all small businesses in the formal sector in the country, while in 1994, the year when apartheid ended, there were around 150,000 black-owned formal businesses in South Africa, Ramaphosa gave an example of gains in the transformation at the opening of the inaugural Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference in Johannesburg.
There has also been substantial progress on employment equity and the number of black managers in the private sector has more than doubled over the past 20 years, from 125,000 in 2002 to over 350,000 at present, Ramaphosa told more than 1,000 delegates, including officials, entrepreneurs, representatives of labor unions, citing figures of labor force surveys.
According to him, the number of black managers in the public sector has tripled from 45,000 to 150,000.
The president expected the conference to not only reflect on the progress in redressing inequality in the economy but also discuss what stakeholders need to do together to expand the frontiers of economic transformation. He said the government’s objective was to accelerate prosperity and employment while ensuring greater black representation across the economy.
The conference will identify progress in the transformation of the economy, and provide information on efforts to increase exports, growth and job creation by black industrialists. It will feature an exhibitors’ marketplace with industrialists showcasing their products.
It will also highlight and showcase the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in enhancing economic development and promoting intra-trade on the continent.