04 December 2018 | Story Charlene Stanley | Photo Supplied
Prof Philippe Burger
Prof Philippe Burger with economists from around the country addressing President Cyril Ramaphosa on strategies for creating long-term prosperity in South Africa.

Prof Philippe Burger, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, along with about 20 economists from the private, public, and academic sectors, was recently invited to join President Cyril Ramaphosa for a round-table discussion titled: Strategies for Long-Term Prosperity: What would it take to place South Africa on a high growth trajectory?

Each speaker had three minutes for a short presentation, constituting different perspectives from all over South Africa, ranging from the banking and agriculture sectors to economists working on regulations. 

Prof Burger focused on macroeconomics, raising the following aspects:

• The need for export-led growth to SADC countries within the context of a fully developed SADC-area common market. Such a common market would allow for the free flow of goods and services across SADC borders, and include a single customs union for SADC countries.
• The need for government to negotiate an investment compact with the business sector that includes policy and legislative changes from government’s side, as well as possible tax concessions, in exchange for a commitment to investment targets from the business sector. If properly executed, such investment will stimulate economic growth and job creation. The agreements forming part of such an investment compact should be concluded both on an economy-wide and a sectoral/industry basis.
• The pressing need to fix our education system, as there is a direct correlation between the quality of education and a country’s economic growth rate. 
• The need to restore tenure rights for people in former homelands (where close to a third of the country’s population live on communal land) and the establishment of commercial value chains for their products.

“I really see this as a positive move by the President,” said Prof Burger afterwards.

“This is the first discussion of its kind and shows that he is serious when it comes to dealing with our country’s economic problems. It’s great to see that he’s tapping into existing pools of expertise in doing so.”

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