When Covid-19 arrived in the country at the beginning of March 2020, it was evident from the experience of other countries that this would have significant health, economic and social ramifications for South Africa.
Government, fully supported by business and other societal stakeholders, took swift action and the resulting lock-down provided time to prepare the health care system for patient volumes, which it was ill-equipped to handle, and to slow the spread of the virus.
Today, it is clear that the virus will continue to circulate through the population, with infection rates increasing significantly across the nation. We therefore need to develop protocols and mechanisms which allow the country to operate under these difficult conditions, carefully balancing health and safety considerations with the need for protecting livelihoods and ensuring economic growth.
The domestic economy was already in a precarious position prior to the advent of the Covid-19 crisis, which has merely exacerbated the economic and social consequences of corruption and the poor choices made over the last decade. South Africa has fallen behind its African and global competitors, as the country has failed to address its primary challenges of inequality, poverty, and unemployment.
In recognition of the gravity of the present situation, B4SA was constituted to mobilise business capabilities in response to the Covid-19 crisis and to assist government in addressing the associated ramifications for the economy and society at large. Secondly, B4SA sought to formulate an integrated accelerated economic recovery strategy which harnesses South Africa’s potential in the shortest possible time by leveraging all resources – across government, business, and civil society – to address the economic challenges we face.
B4SA has synthesised and prioritised 12 key projects and initiatives, from a list of over 50, some of which can be launched immediately and others progressively, across 10 high-impact sectors. There have also been 12 policy focus areas identified, which could increase GDP by over R1 trillion (tn), generate 1.5 million (m) jobs, and increase tax revenues by R100 billion (bn) per annum. In addition, 15 immediate actions have been identified that will improve consumer and business confidence and that do not require government policy changes to implement. We need decisive leadership together with appropriate capacity and expertise, to implement these actions.
To see more how B4SA is working to help the business sector, download the following presentation: https://www.businessforsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/B4SA-A-New-Inclusive-Economic-Future-for-South-Africa-narrative-10-July-Final.pdf or visit their website at: https://www.businessforsa.org/