Foreword by the Hon. Minister of Trade and Industry
South Africa’s promotion of a higher level of more inclusive economic growth must involve intensifying efforts to promote Radical Economic Transformation in two inextricably linked dimensions.
First, it must involve redoubling our efforts to fundamentally change the colonially defined structure of our economy as a producer and exporter of primary commodities through industrialisation and moving up the value chains. Secondly, it must mean intensifying efforts to promote greater inclusion of black people in positions of ownership, management, leadership and control, particularly but not only in the productive economy.
This Integrated Report 2017 of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) outlines the seminal achievements that the development financier has continued to make in pursuit of this critical historic mission, leading to cumulative life-to-date approval of R8.6 billion for the benefit of 852 black entrepreneurs countrywide.
One of the flagship pillars that is integral to the Industrial Policy Action Plan is the Black Industrialist Programme. This we launched in March 2016 when we said we would seek to support 100 black industrialists over the then Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period ending March 2019. We can now point to 46 approved projects run by black industrialists with Government agencies including the NEF, collectively having deployed over R2 billion in financial support on top of R122 million in grants from the dti.
In partnership with local and international investors, the NEF has developed 27 strategic and industrial projects worth over R28 billion, with the potential to support over 85 000 jobs. The NEF’s Strategic Projects Fund therefore remains a key and important instrument whose work supports efforts to advance the development of black industrialists.
Equally important is the spirited work that continues to unfold in the other areas of the NEF’s mandate, namely the iMbewu Fund that supports SME development; the Rural and Community Development Fund that supports rural and peri-urban economic activities; the Women Empowerment Fund, whose ethos is based on the mantra that “to fund a woman is to fund a nation”, as well as the uMnotho Fund through which the NEF supports black participation in untransformed sectors of the economy and expansionary projects in medium-sized enterprises.
In addition to providing innovative finance solutions, non-financial interventions such as business planning, entrepreneurship development, incubation, investor education and mentorship are also critical imperatives in the quest for inclusive growth, and in this regard we commend the NEF for continuing to set the benchmark.
It is for these reasons that efforts are underway to ensure that the NEF, as an apex institution, will soon be recapitalised as a subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation in order to meet the considerable demand for funding by black entrepreneurs.
Government applauds the NEF for having developed formidable human capital across its echelons, and for retaining exceptional skills under trying conditions in respect of yet unrealised recapitalisation, and for delivering meaningful impact in driving economic growth and transformation across industries and the country as a whole.