All indications are that Johannesburg is riding the wave of global economic upheaval, says the mayor, as he prepares to hand over the city after the local government elections.
JOBURG looks poised to grow its economy by an average of 4 percent a year over the next three years, after recording an annual average growth of 5,39 percent between 2004 and 2008.
Executive mayor Amos MasondoExecutive mayor Amos Masondo: City is on a recovery pathDespite the global economic downturn of the past few years, which affected the City’s growth rate, which slumped to 1,3 percent in 2009, recent projections are that Joburg is riding the wave.
“Like all other global cities, the City of Johannesburg is on a recovery path from the global economic crises,” said Executive Mayor Amos Masondo. He was allaying fears that the City’s economy might be permanently crippled during his state of the City address on 9 March.
He said the recovery was being led globally by the financial sector.
Such news meant that the City would be able to broaden public investments in infrastructure, target labour-absorbing activities in manufacturing, construction and services, and promote innovation through green economy initiatives, as it desired, Masondo said.
Joburg was gearing towards an all-encompassing green strategy that would be sustainable, environmentally resilient and supplement the green economy. “To ensure that we effectively protect and manage our environment, we need to scale up demand side management, ensure waste minimisation and redirect our operations to support a green economy.”
Over the last five years, the City had prioritised the regeneration programme of the inner city because of its status as the economic heartbeat of Johannesburg, Gauteng and South Africa as a whole. The inner city alone contributed over 23 percent of the City’s gross domestic product. It had an integrated urban economic landscape that provided more jobs than Sandton, Woodmead, Rivonia and Randburg combined.
The second economy is a major contributor to the city's eThe second economy generates about 10 percent of employment in the cityMasondo said the inner city had become an important anchor for the east and west as well as the north and south corridors of the metro. “Most of our activities in the past decade have been directed towards our objectives to build a more human and caring society and to respond to the most pressing needs of our residents,” he explained.
The City would use the current economic environment to identify new engines of growth and consult and collaborate with the private sector and other stakeholders to sustain growth. It had identified key growth sectors, including manufacturing, construction, transport and tourism, which would boost the economy.
In the past, the City had approved a R1-billion Jozi SME Equity Fund, provided capital to small and medium enterprises from R5-million upwards, and had approved a R60-million grant to create a private sector driven and non-profit finance institution known as Dirang Ba Bohle Finance.
He said about 10 percent of employment in Joburg was generated through the second economy. “We therefore need to research and deepen our understanding of this sector to assist it to coexist and even compliment the formal economy.”
To facilitate the linkage of the local economy to national and international markets, the City was committed to promoting inward investment and strengthening export penetration.
Reducing unemployment, however, remained a priority. Masondo said the City had plans to contribute to the reduction of unemployment from 25 percent to 15 percent nationally over the next 10 years. “We think it is important to emphasise the crucial and critical role of the private sector both on the question of growing our economy and in creating jobs.”
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