By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, Apr 11 (PTI) The South African government has welcomed the revised upward growth outlook for the country by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2.8 per cent to 3.1 per cent for the year 2021.
The positive approach from the IMF comes after repeated downgrades of South Africa’s investment status by rating agencies in the past two years.
“The upgrade to South Africa”s growth outlook affirms the robustness of our economy and positive economic interventions despite tough conditions,” Acting Minister in The Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said in a statement.
The projected 3.1 per cent growth follows a period where economic activity decreased by 7 per cent in 2020 compared with 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This was the biggest annual fall in economic activity the country has seen since at least 1946.
Government attributed the IMF growth projection revision to the additional fiscal support in large economies and the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
South Africa”s own vaccination rollout programme, currently under pressure due to late delivery of vaccines from suppliers, holds the potential to further uplift and turn the economy around.
“Government is confident that the economy will recover with the diligent implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan and the vaccination programme through continued collaborative efforts of government and its social partners,” according to the statement.
“Despite the challenges being experienced globally with access to vaccines, government remains confident that the vaccination roll-out programme will be implemented within the set timelines and in partnership with the private sector,” it said.
“Government has secured 30 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 20 million doses from Pfizer, 12 million doses from COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access and 12 million doses from the African Union.
“In addition, the authorisation of both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines by the South African Health Products Authority (SAHPRA) for emergency use in South Africa gives impetus to the vaccination roll-out programme as it moves to Phase 2 and also prioritises workers from businesses that are essential for economic recovery,” Acting Minister Ntshavheni said.
Ntshavheni made a plea for joint efforts to achieve growth.
“As indicated by the IMF, government acknowledges that South Africa has a long road ahead,” Ntshavheni said.
The minister said that the country”s success requires all South Africans to come together in a social compact to embrace the reconstruction and recovery of the economy as a shared responsibility.
“By working together, we can create much-needed jobs, get our economy back on track and achieve economic dignity for all South Africans,” Ntshavheni said. PTI FH RS RS
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