As South Africa continues to grapple with economic growth challenges amid a tough economic environment, the discussion on economic transformation has once again been put under the spotlight. More than ever, there is a growing realisation by the government, business and labour that in order to achieve sustainable economic growth and improve the lives of all South Africans, all role players need to actively drive the economic transformation agenda.
The crucial element of economic transformation is that it promotes a more inclusive society in relation to income, spending power, employment, economic stability and financial security. It is this inclusivity that must be treated as the ‘means’ and not the ‘antithesis’ of economic growth, as stated by one of the speakers during the recent Insurance Conference held at Sun City in July. Various presenters at the conference alluded to the importance of growing South Africa’s economy through encompassing inclusivity as well as finding innovative sustainable solutions.
As the short-term insurance industry, we are actively seeking and engaging with potential partners to find ways in which we can contribute to the economic transformation process. This is particularly in the small business space – a sector which has great potential to make a significant contribution towards economic growth. One way is to shift procurement to a more diverse and inclusive supplier base. This includes providing work to small businesses within the building, motor, plumbing and panel beating industries, where insurers can make even greater strides in contributing towards growing the economy. An example of this is the work being done in our Motor Transformation and Sustainability Forum, where we are working together with South African motor body repairer associations to create an enabling environment in which insurers and other stakeholders can increasingly utilise the services of small black panel beating businesses. This important project is also being used as a blueprint for the recently established Non Motor Transformation and Sustainability Forum.
To take the discussion forward on economic transformation and to look at the various ways the industry can contribute to the National Development Plan, the SAIA will be hosting its first Indaba on the topic early next year. This will also be addressed at a roundtable discussion with SAIA member Chief Executives where economic transformation among other issues will be discussed on 8 September 2016.
We look forward to engaging on this important and relevant matter.