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Political paralysis impeding economic growth and equality in Africa

Economic inequality stemming from the failings of governments has been identified as one of one of the biggest constraints to growing economies in Africa.

Picture: EWN

Africa has some of the fastest growing economies in the world, but inequality is seemingly spiralling out of control, according to the latest Oxfam report.

Representatives from the NGO told delegates at the 2019 World Economic Forum Africa in Cape Town - which is one of the most unequal cities on the continent - that Africa's three richest people – all men – possess wealth equal to its poorest 650 million citizens.

Africa has, according to Oxfam, the world's four most unequal countries.

EWN’s Arabile Gumede spoke Busisiwe Mavuso, chief executive officer at Business Leadership South Africa, on the sidelines of the WEF event.

“We have identified economic inequality as one of one of our biggest constraints, yet the interventions put in place aren't meant to address the structural challenges leading to it,” she argued.

South Africa is the most unequal society in the world. That cannot be!

Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busisiwe Mavuso.

She criticised government for being lackadaisical in its enforcement of regulations such as black economic empowerment.

“The big issue is political will. Conditions for people to prosper are not God-given; they are created. Government creates those conditions through macro-economic policy,” she said.

Mavuso slammed the reaction by some parts of government and labour unions against the economic discussion document recently published by National Treasury, which she praised.

She lamented the never-ending bailouts of state-owned entities which threaten to bankrupt the country while diverting resources from things such as health, education and job creation.

Does government need to have these 700-odd SEOs in this country? We need these interventions to move 57 million South Africans along.

Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busisiwe Mavuso.

Yet, what we see, according to Mavuso, is political paralysis impeding speedier and more equitable economic growth.

In this context it's unsurprising, she said, that society would struggle with crime, instability and xenophobia.

Click here to read more from the Driving Africa’s Development archive.

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