Trade and regional integration in South Africa’s National Development Plan
The serious observer of the South African economic policy scene cannot help but notice the multitude of official policy documents and strategies that appeared in recent years. There are the National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF), and its related Industrial Policy Action Plans (IPAP) that now has its third version in the policy arena; the South African Trade Policy and Strategy Framework; the New Growth Path (NGP); and most recently the National Development Plan 2030 (NDP) of the National Planning Commission (NPC). We appear to be very good at drafting plans and strategising in South Africa, while waiting with bated breath for dedicated implementation and positive outcomes.
My brief today is to focus on the NDP as a potential force in trade and regional integration. A first point to consider is the principal objective of the NDP, that is, the economic rationale of the document and what it seeks to achieve. It should be noted that the NDP has been given an exalted status by Government as the “plan and strategy” that will be a corner stone of national economic transformation. The Plan has the ambitious goal of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030. This is to be achieved through, amongst others, faster economic growth in ways that will benefit all South Africans; in this respect it is reminiscent of the ‘redistribution through growth’ debate of the 1970s.
In contrast to the NIPF and the IPAPs, which prioritise selective industrial growth as a force of economic development, and the NGP with its emphasis on job creation as guiding principle for economic policy, the NDP is a more broad-based development plan that covers many fields such as education, health care, social protection, rural economic development and environmental sustainability, all combined in an interrelated fashion to convert political emancipation into economic wellbeing for all citizens.
* This paper was presented at tralac’s Annual Conference 2013
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