South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will appoint a council this week to advise on a broad-based economic empowerment programme for black people.
He noted that while the empowerment programme that has been ongoing for 20 years has been significant, there has been “inadequate progress” in some areas.
“We have gone backwards when it comes to increasing black management control, upscaling skills development, entrenching enterprise development and broadening procurement to give opportunities to black women and the youth,” he said in his weekly letter to South Africans.
He noted that at the end of the apartheid regime in 1994, black ownership of companies listed at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange “was less than 1%.”
“This figure has not improved much in the past 28 years,” he said.
He said more work was needed to address the challenges that businesses owned by black people face, including getting capital to start and expand their businesses, as well as finding markets for their products.
He also cited the challenges that black women especially encounter in taking on large-scale transactions.
“The continued exclusion of the black majority from the economy’s mainstream constrains economic growth, which ultimately impacts all business,” he said.