South African minister upbeat on job creation target

09:30, February 17, 2011      

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South Africa's Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has given an upbeat assessment of the country's ability to create 5 million jobs by 2020, the key objective of the South African government's New Growth Path, Business Day newspaper in Johannesburg reported on Wednesday .

In an address to the South African parliament, Patel listed major investments that have been made or committed to in South Africa's vehicle, food and pharmaceutical sectors.

Patel said South African state departments, state-owned enterprises and development finance institutions are pulling together in a strategically coordinated drive to achieve the job creation goal.

Patel is optimistic that an agreement will be reached on a social pact between the South African government, labor and business, with compromises being made on all sides. The minister said a joint commitment to achieving the jobs target had been made at a meeting the previous week between South African government ministers, labor federations, nongovernmental organizations and business. "Business and labor made commitments on skills development, the green economy and strengthening the schooling system," he said.

Patel described this as an important step in mobilizing South African society behind the vision of jobs as the key priority.

Modest targets would be set for the first year of the growth plan's implementation, building up progressively until 2020, he said. The minister pointed out that while the South African state would "clearly play an important role in the New Growth Path", the target of 5 million jobs can only be achieved if the employment- creating capacity in the South African private sector is unlocked.

Source: Xinhua

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