Passing the economic baton on to the youth

Passing the economic baton on to the youth

The Deputy President of South Africa Mr Paul Mashatile says the young population of the country is the one to take the country forward in improving its economy and compete effectively in the globe.

During his address at the public lecture on celebrating 30 years of democracy in South Africa at the University of Johannesburg, in Auckland Park, Mashatile said the youth was very instrumental in fighting for democracy and ending the era of apartheid rule. He said many people sacrificed their lives for a better future for the next generation.

The Deputy President said it is now time for the youth to take the country forward and improve its economy, for the country to invest in knowledge as the world is now moving towards Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“In thinking about the theme of this lecture, which is ‘Inspiring the youth in South Africa to imagine a better and prosperous future’, I cannot help but remember the role that young people played during the 1976 uprising,” said Paul Mashatile.

In order for South Africa to be competitive in the world economy, the Deputy President says the country must build a nation that has the competency that has the necessary capacity and skills to contribute to the development paradigm of South Africa. He says all stake holders have a role to play including universities, the private sector, and civil society.

 According to Mashatile, the government has recently cemented various compacts that are aimed at ensuring that, as partners, they deal with their agreed programme of development. 

“Professor Mpedi, your institution has been one of the leading institutions in AI. I commend you for investing in this important development, and I believe the rest of us should follow suit. We, too, have decided that we must teach robotics and coding at the early childhood development stage so that the children are ready for the future, but more importantly, they must be globally competitive in this era of digital economy,” said Paul Mashatile.

A country’s economy is usually judged by its social- welfare, to this, Paul Mashatile says government has made strides in achieving social cohesion and socio-economy to ensure equality, empowerment of all its citizens and doing away with the injustices of apartheid. He noted some of the successes including the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) policies which promote economic transformation allowing those who were excluding from participating in the mainstream economy to take part.

“To demonstrate our commitment to building an inclusive and growing economy, we have raised R1.5 trillion in new investment commitments, of which over R500 billion has already flowed into the economy.

We have made further strides in addressing load shedding, ensuring energy security, enhancing logistics systems, and improving ports and rail networks. We are on track to accelerate land redistribution, so that black South Africans now own around 25% of farmland and have supported 1,000 black industrialists in black-owned firms,” said the Deputy President.

Poverty, unemployment and inequality continue to plague the country undermining the achievements made by government; corruption also continues to be an obstacle to government’s efforts towards building a strong economy.

Mashatile says government must strengthen social compacts by working together with all sectors of society to address these challenges.


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