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Country analysis > South Africa Last update: 2020-11-27  

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Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

A National Industrial Policy Framework (South Africa)

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

Government of South Africa

SARPN acknowledges DTI as a source of this document:
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  1. The National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF) has a fundamental role to play in achieving the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa's (ASGI-SA) goals of accelerating GDP growth to over 6 percent by 2010 and to halving unemployment and poverty by 2014 and the further intensification of industrialisation towards a knowledge economy beyond 2014.

  2. The primary objective of the National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF) is to set out government's approach to the industrial development of the South African economy. Consequently the NIPF sets out a vision for the industrial economy for both the short-medium and medium-long term.

  3. It is important to emphasise that the NIPF is a Framework rather than a blueprint for South Africa's industrialisation process. Much of the detail of intervention will flow from existing or future processes that are informed by the document. Therefore it does not attempt to address every question related to our industrial development trajectory. Rather it focuses on principles, processes and a set of strategic processes through which structural change will be achieved.

  4. Therefore the NIPF aims to provide strategic direction to the economy with respect to the issue of industrial development. First, it is aimed at providing greater clarity and certainty to the private sector and social partners with respect to investment decisions leading up to 2014 and beyond. Second, it is intended to provide a reference point for substantial improvements in intra-governmental coordination of the numerous and complex set of policies and projects that will form part of the NIPF.

  5. The South African economy has achieved steady growth since 1994. It has also experienced important diversification away from the apartheid-era minerals-linked growth path. A range of sectors beyond our historical strength of traditional commodities have experienced good growth such as the tourism, automotive and wine industries.

  6. However, a situational analysis indicates that the major structural weakness in the industrial economy has been that the losses in employment in traditional commodity sectors of the economy (such as agriculture and mining) have not adequately been offset by rapid enough growth in non-traditional tradable sectors (such as in manufacturing and certain tradable services). These tradable sectors are critical for employment creation because they are generally both labour-intensive and characterised by relatively low-skill intensity.

  7. Therefore our conceptualisation of industrialisation is not restricted to the manufacturing sector but involves a structural change in our growth path towards a more labour-absorbing and value-adding economy. While the NIPF is aimed at unlocking constraints that will benefit the entire economy, there is a particular emphasis on growing non-traditional tradable goods and services due to their relative intensity in low-medium-skilled labour and potential for value-addition. These sectors include manufactured products outside of mineral processing, services that can compete in export markets as well as against imports, including certain non-traditional agricultural and mining activities.

  8. The document then briefly sets out the necessary conditions for industrialisation. These conditions underscore the fact that industrial policy does not lie within the narrow domain of a singe government department but requires strong coordination across a range of departments.

  9. The NIPF adopts the same methodological approach as ASGI-SA. It recognises that there are virtually no examples of developing countries that have industrialised rapidly without a robust and well-implemented industrial policy. Consequently it eschews a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to industrialisation in favour of identifying and acting upon critical constraints and opportunities at both the cross-cutting and sectoral levels of the industrial economy.

  10. Processes of 'self-discovery' through which these constraints and opportunities are identified and addressed will be developed and strengthened in conjunction with business and other stakeholders. Cross-cutting and sectoral programmes will be developed, strengthened and better prioritised in order to focus limited human and financial resources on a strategic set of Key Action Plans (KAPs) in any given three-year Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.

  11. It sets out some key principles for all government departments with respect to the design and implementation of industrial and sector policies. Such policies should lead to evidencebased KAPs, which are of sufficient scale to achieve structural change in the economy; and are supported through an appropriate mix of regulatory change and industrial financing. Where appropriate, industrial financing will be dispensed on a far more conditional basis, be aimed in particular at new activities, and be made available for a limited time.

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