South Africa—can its achievement in containing COVID-19 lead to sustained success in dealing with the crisis?

By Alan Hirsch, Professor of Development Policy and Practice at The Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at University of Cape Town


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


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Empty streets in Cape Town, South Africa, during the Covid 19 lockdown. April 2nd 2020. Photo: Shutterstock

On April 21st, President Ramaphosa announced a huge economic support programme designed to assist the vulnerable poor and sustain small and medium businesses in distress. The package is valued at R500bn or $25bn, including R200bn in credit guarantees and R130bn through reprioritisation of the budget. Some of the funds will also come from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It is a massive package by South African standards at 10 percent of GDP or a third of the annual budget. The package has been widely acclaimed, almost across the entire political spectrum. It is pro-poor and pro-formal sector employee; and supports businesses through SME support, a job creation and retention fund, as well as through credit support. Continue reading

What’s standing in the way of South Africa’s entrepreneurs?

By Talitha Bertelsmann-Scott, Head : Economic Diplomacy Programme, and the entire Economic Diplomacy Programme team, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)


Explore the 2017 African Economic OutlookEntrepreneurship and Industrialisation in Africa for more on this subject.


Sout-Africa-EntreIndustrialisation is a key driver of sustainable development. It creates jobs, adds value and promotes trade through greater integration into global value chains. At the same time, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are critical to every economy by creating jobs and innovative goods, promoting a competitive environment and economic growth, and facilitating income distribution. The South African government recognises the need for entrepreneurship and SMEs’ engagement with industrialisation efforts to address some of the key socio-economic challenges in the country, particularly poverty, inequality and unemployment. However, South African entrepreneurs 1 still face a number of constraints that hinder greater participation in industrialisation efforts. So, what are the roadblocks standing in the way of entrepreneurs? Continue reading