South Africa is a priority country of SECO’s economic cooperation and development. For several years now, South Africa as one of Africa’s most influential countries in geopolitical terms has had to face stagnating growth. SECO supports businesses and the government especially in their efforts to reduce disparities and unlock the economic potential of the country’s burgeoning cities and townships.
South Africa has a strong constitution and over 20 years of democratic government. It is the only African member of the G-20 and plays an important role for the region. Despite of continuing large disparities, South Africa has enjoyed largely positive and diversified economic growth since the end of apartheid in 1994. However, not enough of the much needed jobs were created.
Stagnating growth for Africa’s foremost economy
More recently, per capita income growth has dropped to zero. Poverty has risen again slightly, placing a further burden on state finances. Enduring challenges are high unemployment, standing at around 25%, a skills gap, and poor outcomes in healthcare. South Africa is the continent’s largest producer of greenhouse gases. However, it is also one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy.
What are SECO’s objectives?
Efficient management of public resources
SECO is committed to an effective and cost-efficient use of public resources. It works to improve access to and the quality of urban public services. This entails developing reliable infrastructure, such as water and energy supply.
An internationally competitive private sector
SECO makes it easier for South African SMEs to access capital and enter new markets. It supports entrepreneurship and employee training programmes. This helps to create employment – with better positions and more job security.
Climate-smart economic growth
SECO supports the private sector in utilising resources more effectively and efficiently. It promotes environmentally sound technologies and efficient production processes. SECO also works to ensure that public utilities offer a sustainable water and power supply. Given South Africa’s dominant position in the region, it also supports projects that incorporate other countries.
From 2017 to 2020, a total of some CHF 55 million is earmarked for SECO’s economic development cooperation with South Africa.