Feb 10, 2012
Government planning, infrastructure key growth drivers - LeipzigerBack
© Reuse this
Speaking at the Centre for Development and Enterprise, in Johannesburg, Danny Leipziger, a former World Bank VP and currently international business professor at George Washington University, said that the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 had served to reinforce the indispensible role that governments played in coordinating economic growth and development, as well as in guaranteeing stability.
Leipziger was the vice-chairperson of the 22-member Commission on Growth and Development, which was initiated in 2006 under the leadership of Nobel Laureate Michael Spence to study which policies and strategies had supported rapid and sustained economic growth and poverty reduction across the world. He is currently the MD of the Growth Dialogue, which seeks to connect policymakers and thought leaders to advance the economic-growth cause internationally.
In the commission’s work, which preceded the prevailing economic crisis, it was discovered that only 13 countries, mostly from Asia, had been able to sustain yearly growth rates of more than 7% for 25 years.
Five factors – including market openess, good macroeconomic management, a future orientation, a market orientation and strong government leadership and planning – were identified as having been common across all those countries.
Even ahead of the crisis the commission found that the governments in fast-growing countries had been central to crafting and driving the economic vision and in developing the economic and social infrastructure required to support rapid rates of growth.
“I believe that government’s role is even more indispensible than in the past . . . but it’s not the size of government that matters, but the effectiveness,” he said, noting that governments were currently not only being called upon to act as regulators, but also as risk mitigators.
It would take a combination of factors in the current hostile environment to ensure that a country was placed on a competitive footing. But the deployment, ahead of demand, of well-planned and implemented infrastructure could be an important growth “trigger”.
“I’m a big fan of infrastructure investment, because there is no country in East Asia that has grown rapidly that did not invest highly in infrastructure.”
But infrastructure was but one element, with another key factor being the development of a country’s human capital, as well as putting in place structures and policies to support the development of a domestic manufacturing sector.
Leipziger said that once South Africa had selected, through its national development plan or industrial policy, the areas in which it would compete it should immediately begin benchmarking itself against the international ‘best in class’ in those sectors and not simply against competitors in the neighbourhood.
“For South Africa, there are some major challenges that need to be tackled and it would be a mistake to try and tackle them piecemeal – you have to do a lot of things at the same time to create competitiveness and growth.”
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
This Week's Magazine
Energy analyst and EE Publishers MD Chris Yelland warned recently against excessive optimism regarding timescales for the proposed construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) in South Africa. He was speaking at a Nuclear Roundtable in Johannesburg. “I think we...
Malawi’s Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) is inviting eligible bidders to prequalify for the board’s efficiency improvement works, which will be implemented as part of the E24-million Lilongwe Water Resources Efficiency Programme. LWB CEO Alfonso Chikuni explains that...
CROATIA, AN EU MEMBER BUT NOT A TDCA MEMBER On July 1, 2013, Croatia officially became the twenty-eighth member of the European Union (EU). Despite Croatia’s accession into the EU, it is yet to become party to the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA)...
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has announced that its new Inundu airborne electronics testing, evaluation and training pod had made its first test flight on September 10. The successful flight was undertaken from Lanseria International...
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) – which disbursed a record R13-billion during 2015, from R12.7-billion in the prior year – remained optimistic that it could ramp-up loan disbursements to R25-billion a year by 2018 as it sought to give greater emphasis...