Europe’s R1.3bn jobs, skills boost

14 September 2009

The European Commission and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) have allocated about R1.3-billion for South Africa’s economic support and employment creation programme, it was announced at SA-EU Summit held in Cape Town last week.

“The purpose of the programme is to assist the economic sector departments of the South African government to accelerate South Africa’s economic growth rate and provide more and better jobs for poor people,” said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Accelerating growth

The European Commission and the DFID are providing €100-million and £18-million respectively to the programme, to support the South African government’s work in three clusters – economic, employment and infrastructure – and to stimulate innovative ways of accelerating growth and creating job opportunities in the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a statement last week.

EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Karel De Gucht praised the co-ordinated action of the European Commission and UK as a good example of working together to ensure maximum effectiveness of the assistance.

“Our relationship with South Africa is about improving peoples’ lives. With this new partnership, we continue to build on our already extensive co-operation and trust that our commitment will go some way towards strengthening South Africa in its pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals,” De Gucht said.

Skills development

Government departments in the economic sectors will have access to additional funds to promote skills development and initiate programmes that expand the capacity of the productive economy.

“The programme is also expected to stimulate joint planning, implementation and co-ordination across government departments and with civil society and the private sector,” the DTI said.

National government departments will also be able to access funds in order to partner provincial and local government, research institutions, the private sector, labour and civil society, to promote dialogue and find innovative ways of stimulating higher economic growth and employment.

DFID Southern Africa head Helen Mealins said with the global economic downturn, the launch of the programme is a timely initiative to help create jobs and propose innovative ways for reducing unemployment.

“With South Africa being a key driver of economic growth in southern Africa, the programme will contribute to a better quality of life for people in South Africa and the region,” Mealins said.

SAinfo reporter

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