The South African government has established a fund aimed at supporting small and medium sized enterprises (SME) to grow the economy, with the private sector having contributed over R1 billion to its coffers.
Addressing the media following the Presidential CEOs Initiative meeting on Friday, President Jacob Zuma said the SME Fund will make equity investments in small enterprises with growth potential.
“The fund has been established, a Board of Directors appointed and thus far, the private sector has contributed almost R1.5 billion,” the President said.
The meeting was convened at the Union Buildings to give President Zuma an opportunity to get a report back on work that has been done by business and government, with the support of labour, to build confidence in the economy and reignite growth.
Also speaking after the meeting, SA’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the contribution by the private sector is a formidable achievement.
Progress made since the last meeting in May includes a youth employment programme that will aim to place one million youth in paid internships in the private sector over a three-year period.
The cost of the internships will be borne by the private sector and supported by a negotiated package of government incentives.
President Zuma said consultative processes among relevant stakeholders in government, labour, business and civil society will start, with further details to be announced in due course.
The Presidential CEOs Initiative will address the proposal raised by the Black Business Council (BBC) for black fund managers to be involved in the management of the SME Fund.
In line with government’s Nine-Point Plan, work has been done to analyse eight economic sectors and identify areas for new investment and growth.
Parties at the meeting, particularly business, also prioritised the establishment of an Agricultural Growth Fund. Emphasis was also placed on measures to support South Africa’s tourism marketing strategy and revitalising declining industrial areas, particularly the Vaal Triangle.
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