Joburg 2030 strategy

Posted On Friday, 15 February 2002 03:01 Published by
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Jo'burg 2030 economic strategy, to be launched next week, targets specific sectors and aims to grow small enterprises
Jo'burg 2030 economic strategy, to be launched next week, targets specific sectors and aims to grow small enterprises

THE words Johannesburg and Utopia are rarely uttered in the same sentence. Mayor Amos Masondo, however, has managed to link the two while describing precisely what is not intended in the strategy for the city leading up to the year 2030.

The effort, he states in the Jo'burg 2030 economic strategy document expected to be launched next week, 'sought to avoid the pitfalls of presenting a Utopian shopping list which would be unrealisable'.

The strategy is focusing on economic growth by targeting certain business sectors, addressing the skills shortage in the labour market and growing the small, medium and micro enterprises over a period of 28 years.

Nine sectors were identified as the key growth sectors. They are: trade; financial and business services; utilities; business tourism; information and communication technology; transport and logistics; and three manufacturing subsectors.

The manufacturing subsectors in which the city showed competitiveness and strong growth were food and beverages, other chemicals and professional equipment.

The strategy is a vehicle that the council will use to achieve its goal of being a 'better city', but not necessarily Utopia.

Johannesburg, in 2030, wants to see 'a sustained increase in the standard of living and a sustained increase in the quality of life for all its residents'.

The council says in its plan these two goals would be gauged by increases in the gross geographic product (GGP) per capita and human development index respectively. How?

By establishing a sustainable GGP growth and to ensure the fruits of that growth are shared by all, the document states, the council would have to change from being a mere administrator and utility services provider to being an agent of economic growth. It would have to reposition itself in relation to other spheres of government.

Johannesburg offers central and provincial government a challenge, saying their support would be vital to ensure that the economic development strategy was a success.

That support should not come in short supply, as the Jo'burg 2030 strategy is in line with government's policy and vision of wanting the new local government system to become a key sphere for social service delivery and economic development.

This is where, on social service delivery, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has a problem. DA leader in Johannesburg Mike Moriarty said yesterday the strategy fell short in not addressing the short- and medium-term goals.

'We support it in principle because it is in line with DA ideology of growing the economy by targeting certain sectors and addressing the shortage of skills. The problem is that the council will not be focused on delivery, but on a long-term goal,' he said.

This view was supported by the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry CE Marius de Jager, who said if long-term objectives were to be achieved, they must be supported by shortterm planning cycles.

However, he said: 'We particularly welcome the recognition that progress in addressing social backlogs and inequalities needs to be balanced by economic growth and development, and praise the unequivocal commitment to an economy strongly based on market principles.'

The chamber agreed 'merely throwing more money at a problem' did not necessarily provide a lasting solution. Increasing budgetary allocations could give rise to other distortions by changing expenditure priorities and increasing revenue, and hence, taxation needs.

De Jager urged the council to get into partnerships with the business sector, through buildoperate-transfer, public-private partnerships and outsourcing, saying this could provide more efficient solutions to problems.

To achieve the desired objectives, the Johannesburg council has identified crime as a major problem inhibiting investment in the city.

The business community was asked how this problem was seriously affecting investment and it was found that crime 'affects 61% of any decision' to invest in the city at the moment.

De Jager said that while the high priority given to crime reduction was supported, it should be recognised that private sector investment decisions were ultimately based on 'risk-adjusted returns' which were affected by a wide array of factors.

'The presumption of Jo'burg 2030 is that, if all other things remain the same, a reduction in crime will lead to an increase in investment and thereby higher employment and economic growth,' he said.

However, it was inevitable that other factors influencing the investment decision would change, and that, where possible, the council would have to address those negative aspects if the positive effect of crime reduction was not to be negated.

The council had said the Johannesburg metropolitan police department would, over time, be given additional support and resources it needed to become a successful and effective crime prevention agency.

The city of Johannesburg says a survey of poor communities and township dwellers in Johannesburg returned a finding that the population sees job creation as a greater priority for government than the delivery of services. Hence the strategy's concentration on economic development and job creation.

The strategy document declares that by 2030, 'the quality of life of a citizen in Johannesburg will have much in common with the quality of life of a citizen in a developed city. The human development index of Johannesburg will be equivalent to first world capital city human development index measures'.

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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