POLITICS

Remember That 2.9 Percent Growth The ANC Predicted? No, It's Not For Us

It's taken a week, but the Presidency has finally admitted that this is the prediction for sub-Saharan Africa, not South Africa.

15/01/2017 19:31 SAST | Updated 24/01/2017 21:00 SAST
Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu

If you hoped that South Africa was heading for 2.9 percent economic growth this year, you're likely to be disappointed.

On Sunday, the Presidency conceded that an ANC prediction a week ago of 2.9 percent growth for this year wasn't in fact for South Africa, which was expected to achieve less than half that.

"The Presidency has received a number of inquiries about the reference to an economic growth rate of 2.9 percent in the January 8 anniversary statement of the governing party, the ANC," said Presidency spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga.

"The 2.9 percent mentioned in the statement is the growth rate for Sub-Saharan Africa.

"Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to have slowed to 1.4 percent in 2016 from 3.4 per cent in 2015. For 2017 growth in the region is more optimistically projected to rise to 2.9 per cent.

"In the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, or mini-Budget issued in October last year, the South African government indicated that South Africa is expected to grow at 0.5 per cent in 2016, rising to 1.3 per cent in 2017.

"This remains government's official forecast."

Ngqulunga said the government would provide updates on the growth estimates during the 2017 Budget presentation in February.

The confusion was sparked by the ANC's January statement.

"The global economic recovery is currently very unstable," said the ANC in the January statement.

"Consequently, as we are connected into the global economic system, we have been impacted negatively. Growth is slow or negative in major developed and developing economies. Investment by private sector is, particularly in the developing countries, low. Trade between countries has fallen. Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to have slowed to 1.4 per cent in 2016 from 3.4 per cent in 2015.

"The ANC is optimistic that the 2017 growth forecast of 2.9 percent will be achieved."

It wasn't clear exactly where the 2.9 percent growth would be, and many assumed it referred to South Africa.