The South African economy is stronger than ever with numerous employment opportunities, says Minister for Trade and Industry Mandisi Mpahlwa.
Addressing the opening of the Annual Small Business Summit on Friday the minister said the country's economy was stronger than ever with a 5.4 percent growth in 2006 and stabilising at 5.1 percent in 2007.
"Fixed investment, a key indicator of the underlying capacity of the economy, has grown dramatically from 15 percent in 2004 to 21 percent in 2007," said Minister Mpahlwa.
The conference, which took place in Pietermaritzburg, was held under the theme: Consolidating partnerships and linkages for sustainable small business enterprise development.
According to the department, real income capita has been rising at around 4 percent per person annually since 2004 and the rate of unemployment fell from 31.2 percent in March 2003 to 23 percent in September 2007.
Mr Mpahlwa said this growth translated into an increase of appropriately 1.8 million employed people and therefore employment was beginning to respond to the economy's higher growth rate.
"Let there be no doubt that we have done remarkably well in this, there is no reason to doubt that we can continue to aspire to the higher rates of growth, that we envisaged in Asgisa," he said.
The minister was referring to the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa which aims to halve unemployment by 2014 and achieve a 6 percent annual economic growth by 2010.
He further urged more stakeholders to come on board to help make further inroads in reducing unemployment, poverty and inequality.
More than 500 entrepreneurs, small business financiers, educators, consultants and experts, as well as small business policy makers from all spheres of government attended the summit which aimed to assess and support small businesses in the country.
Small businesses had the opportunity to exhibit their products and services too.
MEC for Economic Development in KwaZulu-Natal Dr Zweli Mkhize said government was hard at work assisting those wanting to participate in the economy of this country.
Dr Mkhize said small enterprises were critical in fighting poverty and growing the economy of South Africa. - BuaNews