ECONOMY

South Africa in 'sweet spot' for growth

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Mandela Magic can be created if South Africa's growth from now until 2030, the final year of the National Development Plan (NDP), can increase to 5.1%. This idea was debated by foreign journalists and members of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in a discussion about the plan, held at the institute's headquarters in Pretoria.

Hosted by Brand South Africa in March, the discussion looked at three possible outcomes of the NDP by 2030. ISS executive director Jakkie Cilliers explains that these include the worst-case scenario, called Nation Divided; the current political and economic climate, known as Bafana Bafana; and the ideal South Africa, called Mandela Magic. The ISS determined the results using the international futures forecasting system, which uses current data to make predictions.

Cilliers points out that the country is currently in "a sweet spot for increased growth", which could lead it to Mandela Magic. The increase in population could help matters. The NDP forecasts the population will be at 58 million in 16 years' time. But Cilliers disagrees, saying that ISS calculations show a 2030 population of 66.4 million. "When the NDP did their forecast they did not have the benefit of the latest census survey. And also, for reasons unknown to us, the NDP forecast that inward migration into South Africa would go down to zero by 2030, which we think is unrealistic. If migration remains at its current rate, it will be 66.4 million."

He also says fracking will play a major role in boosting the country's gross domestic product. Currently, it is reliant on coal and carbon for 70% of its energy and 90% of its electricity. However, Cilliers says the shale boom will allow South Africa to take income from fracking and invest it in renewable energies. "It can boost our economy substantially."

Shamin Chibba

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