Feb 10, 2012
Government planning, infrastructure key growth drivers - LeipzigerBack
Johannesburg|Africa|Danny Leipziger|Industrial|Africa|Asia|South Africa|George Washington University|Economic And Social Infrastructure|Manufacturing|Infrastructure|Michael Spence|Maryland
© 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)
Other Economy News
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 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 network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The board of UD Trucks Southern Africa (UDTSA) has announced the resignation of MD Jacques Carelse. Long-time UD employee, corporate planning and marketing GM, Rory Schulz, has been appointed as acting MD while the process started to appoint a new MD. The Japanese...
There is a need to start planning another pumped storage scheme in South Africa. Much work has already been done at a site in the Limpopo province and the project was very close to being put out to tender at one stage. In 2008/9 the National Energy Regulator of South...
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is preparing to leverage its strategic coastal position to develop the Eastern Cape economy through proposed aquaculture development zones (ADZs), with a proposed R2-billion project aiming to contribute $278-million to the...
Completion of the ongoing construction of the 102 km Zomba–Jali–Phalombe–Chitakale road, in southern Malawi, has been extended from June to December 15 because of persistent rains and difficulties in paying the contractor. The project is being undertaken by Kuwait's...
The Malawi government has awarded South African firm Fischer Consortium the contract to upgrade the Malawi Road Traffic Information System. The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services at Malawi's Ministry of Transport and Public Works says Fischer...