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SA economy playing catch up - Zuma

The president is at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Thousands of leaders from several spheres including business, government, academia and civil society have gathered in Davos, Switzerland for the 45th annual World Economic Forum. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

SWITZERLAND - President Jacob Zuma says South Africa is doing everything in its power to catch up with the economic growth in the rest of Africa.

The president took part in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

WATCH: Davos at a glance

The panel, which included African business owners and presidents, looked at how development strategies are being adjusted to curb slower growth rates among Africa's top trade and investment partners.

Panel head Bronwyn Nielsen asked Zuma about South Africa's growth rate, saying, "It must be a difficult pill to swallow, that South Africa is the damp note to that bright African story."

To which Zuma responded, "Yes, absolutely so."

But he was quick to defend his statement, saying South Africa was a completely different place just over 20 years ago.

"We are not like countries that have been developing all the time. But I think we are doing our best. So, from our point of view, we understand why we are where we are."

WATCH: The South African agenda in Davos 2015

South Africa's economy saw only a 1,4 percent in gross domestic product (GDP) last year while the current growth forecast for 2015 is sitting at 2,2 percent.

Government has aimed to achieve a 5 percent growth rate by 2019.

Click here for the all the latest from Davos via EWN's special portal.