Minister Meyer tables PERO and MERO
“The Western Cape Economy will remain constrained over the short term. However, there are signs that the Western Cape Government’s Policy interventions are beginning to bear fruit”.
This is the key message coming from Western Cape Minister of Finance Dr Ivan Meyer during the tabling of the Western Cape Provincial Economic Review and Overview (PERO) and the Municipal Economic Review and Overview (MERO) in the provincial legislature earlier today.
The PERO and the MERO provide a review and analysis of economic growth, labour market dynamics and socio-economic development trends within the Western Cape.
Economic growth in the Western Cape slowed to 2.1 per cent in 2014 and will remain constrained over the short term. Meyer:
“The Western Cape economy is extremely vulnerable to international and domestic shocks and cannot detach itself from the risks facing the global and national economy. Some of these risks will have a greater impact on the Western Cape than the rest of South Africa.”
Commenting on the Western Cape’s priority to grow the Western Cape economy and create jobs, Minister Meyer highlighted that while the report confirmed that economic growth had slowed down recent evidence suggests that the Western Cape is doing better than the rest of the country.
“The focus brought about by policy interventions such as Project Khulisa, are reflected in the very positive developments in the agribusiness, renewable energy and tourism sectors.” Recent reports suggest that the Western Cape has attracted a significant increase in new investments. I am particularly pleased in the investment in renewable energy and the growing acknowledgment of the exciting work happening in the area of the creative economy and technology.
The PERO further highlights that in the Western Cape;
- The proportion of households considered to be poor has decreased.
- The unemployment rate is estimated at 20.8%.
- The majority of the Province’s unemployed have incomplete secondary education.
- Life expectancy continues to increase and there have been improvements in infant, child and maternal mortality rates.
- The Western Cape achieved the highest matric pass rate nationally, with 41.7 per cent of these learners achieving a Bachelors pass which allows entry into a Bachelor’s degree study programme.
The Western Cape Government’s inclusive growth strategy aims to ensure that those who have exited the education system early and are currently marginalised in the labour market are able to access effective pathways to develop skills. The Western Cape Government’s Artisan and Technical Skills Game Changer is one such intervention”.
The 2016 Municipal Economic Review and Overview (MERO) highlights that economic recovery is on track in all the regions in the Province, with the West Coast and Cape Winelands have caught up with the traditional fast growing regional economies such as Eden and the Overberg Districts. The population has however grown faster than economic growth in most municipalities in the province, implying a reduction in the GDP per capita during the post‑recession period.
Social indicators that have moved in a positive direction include increasing access to basic services across all municipalities, decreasing indigent households (Bergrivier, Breede Valley, Theewaterskloof, George, Hessequa, and Prince Albert), decreasing poverty intensity and poverty headcount (Overberg and Eden Districts), lower TB patients (Central Karoo District) and increasing Matric pass rates, among others.
Social indicators such as informal dwellers, households without income, crime, substance abuse, and people with no schooling, teenage pregnancies and high unemployment levels remain a concern in municipalities across the province
Meyer warned that the weak economic growth coupled with high levels of unemployment will likely result in the increase in demand for public services, placing greater pressure on already constrained resources.