The country’s economy is in a dire state, exacerbated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic; however, there are signs of opportunities for recovery and manufacturing can play a big role in supporting economic recovery, PwC Africa partner and chief economist Lullu Krugel said during a November 19 webinar hosted by industry organisation, the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association.
She mentioned that the sector was high on the government’s agenda for the economic rebuild, and the contribution it could make towards creating sustainable jobs was appreciated.
Krugel said technology was a big disrupter, but also provided opportunities for the industry.
She cited climate change as another disruptor and creator of opportunities, such as encouraging the development and implementation of new ways of manufacturing, new markets and new technologies, for example, using recycled material to manufacture products.
The country’s young, growing population should be leveraged as a benefit in fulfilling the job opportunities that would arise amid changes in the industry.
In terms of the country’s economic recovery, Krugel said there were signs of improvement but that more needed to be done. This required fundamental changes in the economy to address the challenges, she emphasised.
She noted that the fundamental changes were not about introducing new or innovative measures but, rather, getting the basics right.
This pertained to FDI, the ease of starting a business, electricity availability/supply, digitalisation, private sector investment, local content and knowledge capital.
She indicated that even a one percentage point increase across various elements would lead to a change in the structure of the economy and result in a potential growth rate of about 4.5% over the next five years, creating 500 000 jobs consistently.