CAS Coovadia, the CEO of Business Unity South Africa (Busa), said at the Agoa Forum on Friday that he expected South Africa to reach 3% economic growth in 2025.
“At the moment we are concentrating on stopping the slide jointly with the government through various crisis committees. Next year we expect to turn the ship around and by the end of next year we expect to show significant progress so that we can reach 3% growth in 2025,” Coovadia said.
The formal collaboration between business and government was initiated in June 2023 with the aim of significantly growing South Africa’s economy, by restoring public and investor confidence through critical interventions to address the key challenges of energy, logistics, as well as crime and corruption.
A critical part of engendering investor confidence was to get an extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) that is due to expire in September 2025.
“Agoa needs to be looked at afresh with a view to optimising its benefits, not only for South Africa, but for the rest of the continent. In that respect Busa has a role to play with other partners, especially in a time of the shifting geopolitical environment,” Coovadia said.
He highlighted the gains that had been made in combating crime as law enforcement agencies are working to protect rail infrastructure through a range of interventions, including aerial surveillance on the North and Central Corridors as well as the Majuba rail line.
In terms of making it easier to do business there was a focus on addressing the congestion challenges at the Lebombo border crossing between South Africa and Mozambique, which had been overwhelmed by the diversion of exports from Durban to Maputo.
One of the ways to reduce congestion was to reverse the switch form rail to road and he welcomed the recent changes in the Transnet executive.
Busa said in September that six of the eight work streams of the National Logistics Crisis Committee were now fully operational, while the remaining two will transition from Operation Vulindlela.
“We are busy with the Logistics Roadmap that seeks to eliminate bottlenecks. We believe that Transnet should continue to own the rail network and ports, but there is an opportunity for the private sector to operate on some of this infrastructure,” he added.
He said the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), that was last updated in 2019 and had originally been planned to be available in March this year was now before the Parliamentary portfolio committee.
“The IRP has been needlessLY delayed, but the lifting of the generation threshold last year has allowed the private sector to provided much needed extra renewable energy generation,” he said.