Date: 23-24 June 2020

Extract from the NPC colloquium concept note:

In the light of Covid-19 and its aftermath, particularly the impact on small businesses, including those in the townships and rural areas, the National Planning Commission hosted a colloquium on June 23 and 24 2020. Its title was: Small business being a spine of economic recovery and stimulation post-Covid19 and into the future.

The pandemic has been exacerbated by two downgrades by international rating agencies and, to crown it all, the country which was already in a technical recession, has now gone into a full one. This colloquium is urgent as the levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality have been worsening in the last 25 years, more so in often ignored and vulnerable groups such as women, youth, people with disability and military veterans. As the current crisis is not about to end, the colloquium will play an important role in providing advice on first, the reengineering of the small business sector and, secondly, the urgency of small business being the spine of the economic recovery of South Africa.

In this way, we bring the marginalised millions into the heart of the economy and self-respect. Currently over 30 million live in poverty, the Gini coefficient is at an unhealthy 0.69 and unemployment at a mind blowing 29.1%, these being the figure before the pandemic. The pandemic has worsened the situation.

Conceptually, the colloquium will be on how best to restructure and stimulate the economy Post Covid-19 with entrepreneurship being the underlying driver. It is predicted the South African economy will shrink by at least 7.5% in 2020. This is going to result in a bloodbath in terms of jobs destroyed and small businesses going up the wall. The problem statement in the next section explains the scope of the challenge to be met.