Priorities to improve SA’s economic sights – GE CEO

05 June 2015

General Electric (GE) chairperson and CEO Jeffrey Immelt has indicated, in an essay titled ‘Reimagining South Africa’, how he might personally tackle some of South Africa’s major socioeconomic problems. 

Immelt’s first priority, if given responsibility for South Africa’s economy, would be to invest in infrastructure, particularly energy and transportation.

Noting South Africa’s recent success in attracting renewable-energy investors, Immelt indicates that he would seek to “extend the model further” so as to leverage private capital and expertise in support of growing generation and expanding the grid.

“In transportation, South Africa is already reaping benefits from investment in rail-freight services,” he writes, highlighting GE’s role as a supplier to Transnet

“Transnet Engineering is now a leading supplier of locomotives domestically and is expanding with exports to Mozambique and with opportunities in Angola, Botswana, and Namibia.”

Immelt’s second priority would be to improve the business environment, especially for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that can integrate into local and global supply chains.

Improving education would be the third priority. “South Africa needs to educate the next generation of engineers, scientists, and technologists if it is to thrive in the future.
By roughly doubling per capita income growth, South Africa could achieve per capita income similar to that of Portugal or Poland in 17 years.

Immelt describes the National Development Plan as “compelling and comprehensive”.
“The country has surmounted tremendous obstacles, and I have no doubt that South Africa’s political leaders and citizenry will yet again rise to the challenge,” he concludes.

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