19 September 2013
The Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), an agency that falls under the province’s Economic Development Department, has signed a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that is expected to boost small businesses and create jobs in the province.
Gauteng Economic Development MEC Mxolisi Xayiya, speaking after a signing ceremony in Johannesburg on Monday, said the partnership would help to grow the province’s economy by increasing supplier links between small enterprises and bigger firms.
He said the programme would use 10-year experience of the UNDP’s supplier development programme in Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador to tailor a programme that addressed the specific dynamics of Gauteng.
Under the programme, small businesses in the province “will be taught important lessons in sustaining and expanding their participation in local and foreign markets to create jobs”.
Gauteng, with a population of over 12-million people, is South Africas economic hub, contributing in the region of 34% to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Despite this, Xayiya said, the province’s economy required structural changes in order to address unemployment levels of over 20% and worrying inequalities.
“This objective will be pursued through an in-depth, demand-oriented intervention of 9-10 months geared at transforming SMMEs and cooperatives, boosting their sales and employment levels, and inculcating lasting effects in company management.”
He added that the UNDP partnership brought with it a network of business associations through its Private Sector Development Forum, a partnership between the UNDP, Business Unity South Africa and the Black Business Council which was established in 2012.