Feb 17 2012
Sometimes one must shake the head in disbelief and frustration about the South African government and its inability to unlock the job-creating capacity of the economy. All the more so, since new jobs are desperately needed and Trevor Manuel recently published (yet another) plan to get the economy to grow faster and create more jobs. It seems the way from policy to implementation is simply too arduous for this government.
How did I get onto this depressing topic (yet again)? Well, this article brought me to it. Read it and weep. If SA could close this gap with the rest of the world, thousands of new jobs will spontaneously jump out of nowhere, the internet economy will wake up and start catching up with the rest of Africa (yes, SA is lagging behind Africa) and then even the rest of the world (it’s way behind everyone). All of this will happen naturally – without the government having to do anything.
But, first government must invest in broadband infrastructure (which will create a lot of jobs on its own), to bring broadband costs for the consumer down and stretch consumer usage (at current speeds no-one wants to sit in front of a computer).
The article also answers the question, “why aren’t there more globally successful internet entrepreneurs in SA?”.
A (big) part of the answer: when an IT developer switches his computer on in SA in the morning to start his working day, he is already 80% less productive than his counterpart in Europe. Because a page takes almost 8 times longer to load on a screen in Cape Town than in Stuttgart. Thanks to the SA government, IT developers in SA are completely and utterly unproductive compared to (almost everywhere else in) the world.
How much longer do we have to wait, President Zuma?