The Black Business Council (BBC) yesterday unveiled plans to establish a black-owned bank to empower the small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) sector, as a solution to a stagnant economy and a high unemployment figure.
According to Statistics South Africa, the economy only grew 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018 contributing to an overall growth rate of 0.8% for the entire year, with the unemployment rate having decreased to 27.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018 from 27.5% in the previous period.
The total number of people who are unemployed is 6.14 million.
After a two-day summit, BBC president Sandile Zungu said a black-owned bank, which would be amenable to small businesses through providing funding, could serve as a catalyst to create jobs, particularly in rural areas and townships.
The BBC summit saw black business leaders Patrice Motsepe, Sabelo Macingwane, Motsepe Matlala; politicians Paul Mashatile, Mmusi Maimane, Floyd Shivambu, Lindiwe Zulu, Pravin Gordhan, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, David Makhura and academic Tshilidzi Marwala among those who shared views on how to take the economy out of sluggishness.
“The SMME sector needs support to double the country’s employment rate, which big companies cannot do, due to investing in robotics. Employment figures would come from the SMME sector,” said Zungu.
“We are exploring establishing black-owned banks and a possible purchase of such institutions as the African Bank, making loans for the SMME sector easier,” he said.
BBC secretary-general Judy Nwokedi said it was important to improve efficiencies in the public and private sector by ensuring that rural and township economies were included in the procurement supply chain.