Economy needs big push: Zuma

South Africa's economy needs a major push forward, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday (12/02/15).

The country's aim of achieving a growth target of five percent in 2019 was at risk, he warned in his state-of-the-nation address, delivered before a joint sitting of Parliament's two chambers.

Zuma noted that the International Monetary Fund had this week revised down its global economic growth forecast to 3.5 percent for 2015.

"Our ambition of achieving a growth target of five percent by 2019 is at risk because of the slow global growth, as well as domestic constraints in energy, skills, transport and logistics amongst others."

However, the situation was more promising on the jobs front.

"Two days ago, StatsSA released the employment figures for the last quarter of 2014. [They show] that there are now 15.3 million people who are employed in South Africa. Jobs grew by 203,000."

On his target of six million job opportunities over five years, announced last year, he said so far 850,000 "work opportunities" had been created.

Zuma said government had a nine-point plan to "ignite growth and create jobs".

This included, among other things, resolving the country's energy challenge, revitalising agriculture, advancing the beneficiation of minerals and encouraging private sector investment.

"Our economy needs a major push forward," he said.

- SAPA

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