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ECA Convenes a Virtual Validation Meeting on SOEs

28 January, 2021
ECA Convenes a Virtual Validation Meeting on SOEs

Virtually, 28 January 2021 (ECA) – The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa held today a virtual validation meeting on a study report on State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in South Africa titled “Governance of State-Owned Enterprises in South Africa: Enhancing Performance, Efficiency and Service Delivery.” The validation meeting focused on the context of SOEs in South Africa using case studies of the main SOEs in the country, the challenges and opportunities as well as brief presentations of SOEs challenges and solutions in Lesotho and Mauritius.

SOEs play a pivotal role in the socio-economic development of every country’s economy, noted the Acting Director of ECA’s Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa, Mr. Sizo Mhlanga during his welcome remarks at the validation meeting while underlining the importance of corporate governance of SOEs to ensure financial stability and sustainable global growth. “We are here to address a present-day challenge that we continue to battle with in our region - the issues facing State Owned Enterprises in South Africa, the largest economy in the region not only affect the country but the entire region and beyond and this gathering presents an opportune stepping stone towards addressing these issues,” he noted.

Ms. Rethabile Maluke, representing the ICSOE Chair-Lesotho in her remarks noted that the study report on South Africa’s SOEs presents an opportunity for the Southern Africa region to design its own model for development in the sector. She added that, “the success of one country in the region is a success to all and indeed a step in the right direction towards strengthening regional cooperation through sharing of experiences.”

In her opening remarks, the United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) in South Africa, Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas advised that the role of SOEs is key to delivering social services in the coming years and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly reducing poverty and inequality.

The overall objective of the study was to explore ways of reforming South Africa’s SOEs with a view to reducing poverty and inequality, transforming the economy for higher value productivity and growth, boosting industrialization in line with the country’s development agenda, and supporting regional integration, stated Mr. Mzwanele Griffiths Mfunwa, ECA’s Economic Affairs Officer.

SOEs are the linchpin for every country’s socio-economic development. However, if they are poorly managed, they become a serious obstacle to socio-economic growth, service delivery and sustainable job creation, underscored Dr. Mzukisi Qobo, the ECA consultant during his presentation of the draft study report on South Africa’s SOEs.

It was expected that the meeting would  facilitate better understanding of the SOEs challenges in South Africa and the importance of SOE reforms which is vital for the socio-economic development of the country. The recommendations from the deliberations would also help to finalize and strengthen the report thereby enabling South Africa to take full advantage of the report to improve the operations of its SOEs, among other benefits.

The meeting was attended by experts drawn from public and private sectors, Civil Society Organisations  and Non-Governmental Organisations, labour movements, academia, research institutions and private citizens from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Mauritius.

Issued by: The Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa

UNECA, P.O. Box 30647, Lusaka, Zambia.

For more information Contact:

Economic Commission for Africa, Southern Region Office

Lavender Degre, Communication Officer

Contact:  Tel: (260)966797779

For more information about the ECA-SRO-SA work.

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