South Africa to boost economy with $20.5 billion public work projects

South Africa is planning projects worth $20.5 billion in sectors such as transport, energy and water as it looks to drive an economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Paul Mashatile, the ANC’s treasurer-general, told a video conference organized by think- tank Chatham House, that the infrastructure projects will soon be approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet after talks with the private sector and multilateral development banks.

The projects will focus on areas such as railways, ports, energy, information technology, water and sanitation and housing, he added.

Africa’s most industrialised economy was already in recession before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, with the central bank now predicting a seven percent gross domestic product contraction this year and some economists forecasting a double-digit budget deficit.

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Enoch Godongwana, who heads the ANC’s economic transformation subcommittee, told the same video conference that the government hoped to stimulate economic demand via the infrastructure programme, drawing on lessons from the 2010 soccer World Cup the country hosted.

“Global trade is going to be subdued, therefore exports will be minimal, we have got to look at how we stimulate demand in our given circumstances,” Godongwana said.

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