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  • Brics – Human Development Index Comparisons

    Recent discussions in the media has focussed on whether South Africa belongs in the exclusive BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of countries. Over the last year I have increasingly been looking to Brazil and India as examples of what might be possible. The improvements in the Human Development Index (HDI) of these countries suggests we can learn a great deal from them. Of course, in Brazil and India there are disputes on the numbers, however the take home is this – South Africa’s HDI has fallen primarily due to poor health outcomes, which are associated with the impact of HIV/Aids. Our educational performance has also been weak. The silver lining is that current initiatives by government in the health and education sectors have better prospects for success, than our first policy choices after 1994.

    Human Development Index – Brazil, South Africa, China, Russia and India

    The chart shows the Human Development Index (HDI) for the BRICS countries (i.e. Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa) from 1980 to 2011. The data shows that Russia, India and Brazil have improved their HDI, whilst South Africa has seen a decline in its HDI since the mid-1990s. It underscores the point, that we must be learning more from the experiences in Russia, but especially from Brazil and India.


    At first glance South Africa’s performance looks exceptionally weak. To better understand the outcomes, it is important to look at the components that make up the HDI.

    Click here for an interactive chart.

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  • SMME Opportunities 27/01/2012

    Opportunities for small businesses

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  • SMME Opportunities 20/01/2012

    Opportunities for small businesses in South Africa 20 Jan 2012

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  • MTBPS-More continuity, when change is needed

    The National Treasury argues that:

    The measure of a strategy is not in the breadth of objectives it seeks to address, but rather in its focus on those objectives that really matter. Fiscal constraints force government to choose carefully between competing objectives.

    MTBPS pic on zapreneur. http://zapreneur.com/dev

    Does the MTBPS have the right toolkit?

    This provides a benchmark against which to assess the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). The common sense approach is to focus on the level of the deficit. On the one hand, the financial markets will welcome the attempts to reduce the deficit over the medium term, whilst raising concerns about the current perception that debt is high. On the other hand, civil society organisations will argue that more needs to be done, but the deficit will be an indicator that government is attempting to do something during this downturn. There are important public policy choices in this debate, with the National Treasury providing an important input in the Fiscal Guidelines.

    However, there is a foundational question – Are the objectives the right one’s? Or more crisply, is the underlying strategy the correct one? To place, this in context South Africa lags behind its peers in terms of economic growth.

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  • Chart – Women and men as employers and employees in South Africa

    zapreneur chart on male and female employment

    Male and female employment in South Africa using 2011 2nd Quarter Labour Force Survey data.

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  • The reality of “bantustan” – Income and population shares by geographical type in South Africa

    Income and population shares by geographical type in South Africa, based on NiDs 2008.

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  • Treasury launches Jobs Fund


    The Jobs Fund - National Treasury funds, DBSA implements

    Minister Pravin Gordhan has launched the Jobs Fund, first mooted in President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address. The fund  targets 150 000 jobs I three years and  has three unique characteristics:


    1. Co-finance projects with the potential of job creation, supporting both existing and new programmes.  The fund thus seeks to gear additional funding into the programme
    2. Grants instead of loans – Importantly, the funds provide grants for projects, signalling a shift in government to directly fund projects through grants and supporting venture capital. There will be no repayment or financial return sought, although funds that  are  not spent for the  purpose for which they were allocated,  or  are misappropriated, will be reclaimed by  the  National Treasury.
    3. Supporting existing and new programmes – The fund is designed to provide for a range of different partnerships, including for existing government programmes and new programmes.

    Details on the application forms and criteria can be found at http://www.jobsfund.org.za/

    The fund has a wide ambit, covering four areas:

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