International Monetary Fund (IMF) Senior Resident Representative in South Africa, Dr Montfort Mlachila, recently presented a public lecture on Sub-Saharan Africa’s Regional Economic Outlook: Recovery Amid Elevated Uncertainty at the Graduate School of Business and Leadership.
The lecture was hosted by the Macroeconomics Research Unit (MRU), a group of economists comprising academic staff and postgraduate students in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
sub-Saharan Africa’s stagnant economic performance, volatile capital flows, the increasing debt ratio and sound fiscal disciple were the focus of the lecture.
‘Our studies on population trends show that 20 million jobs need to be created in the region per year. This is a big challenge as economic growth is stalling,’ said Mlachila.
He added that reforms are needed to manage development spending needs and create jobs. Countries need to improve tax revenue collections, public financial management and spending efficiency and reduce non-tariff barriers and promote intra-regional trade.
‘One thing South Africa needs to be aware of is that business confidence is the main driver of investment and so are state owned enterprises. South Africa’s growth has been lacklustre to put it mildly and having debt relief for state owned enterprises doesn’t modify behaviour. Eskom was given a substantial bail out five years ago but look at what is happening now. Going forward, growth of the region is likely to stay subdued and there is definitely a need to recalibrate policies to meet these economic challenges,’ explained Mlachila.
MRU founder and College of Law and Management Studies Acting Dean of Research Professor Harold Ngalawa said that having an expert of Mlachila’s calibre address students and academics on contemporary finance and economics reflects their commitment to enriching teaching and learning.
‘MRU embraces the University’s goal of promoting high quality and high impact research. We are working with industry to ensure that our research is not only relevant but also of high quality,’ he said.
Words and photograph: Thandiwe Jumo