By Hassan Isilow
JOHANNESBURG (AA) – South Africa's president on Thursday urged his compatriots to buy only locally manufactured goods in a bid to bring down unemployment from its current peak of 27 percent.
“The most direct way for South Africans and South African companies to create jobs is to buy only South African products,” Cyril Ramaphosa said in his address at the opening of a two-day national jobs summit.
The conference is aimed at finding solutions to address the country’s high unemployment. It is being attended by business leaders, companies, and trade unions.
“If we do not buy the food that comes out of South African soil, there will be no farms and no farm workers,” Ramaphosa said.
Africa’s most advanced economy has faced low levels of growth in the past few years, leading to job losses in key sectors such as mining, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Ramaphosa believes that corruption in both the public and private sector has undermined investor confidence in the country.
The country is currently holding a major commission of inquiry to probe graft allegations involving former President Jacob Zuma, the wealthy Indian Gupta family, and several officials.
Ramaphosa, who was elected by the African National Congress (ANC) in April to replace Zuma, has been working to fight corruption and restore investor confidence.
He announced Thursday that the country’s financial sector has agreed to invest 100 billion rands over the next five years to help black-owned businesses prosper so as to create jobs and also retain existing ones.
The South African leader also announced his country will aggressively promote its exports.