Elected in 2018, Cyril Ramaphosa, a successful businessman who built his fortune in various business ventures, is the current President of South Africa. When elected president, Ramaphosa promised to bring economic prosperity to South Africa. His economic policies included creating jobs, reindustrializing the country, accelerating economic reforms, and fighting crime and corruption.
On job creation, Ramaphosa has argued that the best way to reduce poverty and inequality in South Africa is to create jobs. He has pledged to create 1 million new jobs by 2023, and has focused on infrastructure investment and small business development as two key ways to achieve this goal.
On the reindustrialization of the country, President Ramaphosa has also argued that South Africa needs to reindustrialize its economy in order to create more jobs and reduce its reliance on imports. He has proposed a number of policies to support this goal, including tax breaks for manufacturing businesses and investment in research and development. He has also pledged to accelerate economic reforms in order to make South Africa more attractive to investors. He has proposed a number of reforms, including reducing red tape, improving the country's infrastructure, and tackling corruption.
On Fighting crime and corruption, President Ramaphosa has also argued that crime and corruption are major obstacles to economic growth in South Africa. He has pledged to crack down on both crime and corruption, and has appointed a number of high-profile figures to lead these efforts.
Now the main question to ask ourselves is the following: did the South African economy improve under President Ramaphosa’s leadership? After spending five years in power, his record can surely be assessed.
South Africa GDP Growth
Source: Statistics South Africa
According to the Department of Statistics South Africa, South Africa’s unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2023 was recorded at 32.9%, which is among the highest unemployment rates in the world. It is an increase of 0.2 of a percentage point to the fourth quarter of 2022. The Department of Statistics South Africa stated that the South African economy grew since 2019. Indeed, it grew for a second consecutive year, expanding by 2% between 2021 and 2022, from R4.5 trillion to R4.6 trillion. Although GDP reached an all-time high in 2022, the economy had only grown by 0.3% from the pre-pandemic reading of R4.58 trillion.
Ramaphosa's economic policies have been met with mixed reactions. Some have praised his focus on job creation and economic reform, while others have argued that his policies are not ambitious enough or that they will not be effective in the long term. President Ramaphosa has taken a mixed approach to economic policy. He combined some elements of both liberalization and government intervention.
On the one hand, he has made some progress in reducing corruption and improving the business environment. For example, he has appointed a number of new ministers and officials who are committed to fighting corruption, and he has also introduced a number of reforms to make it easier for businesses to operate in South Africa. These reforms include reducing red tape, making it easier to get permits and licenses, and introducing tax breaks for businesses that invest in new technologies.
On the other hand, Ramaphosa has also increased government spending on infrastructure and social programs. For example, he has pledged to invest $100 billion in infrastructure over the next five years, and he has also increased spending on social programs such as education and healthcare. These investments are intended to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty and inequality.
Some economists have argued that Ramaphosa's focus on liberalization is the right approach, as it will help to attract foreign investment and create jobs. Others have argued that Ramaphosa's focus on government intervention is necessary to address the country's high levels of poverty and inequality.