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26 November 2013
Press Release Round Table

Economic Development on Archbishop’s new agenda Dr Trevor Manuel, the Minister in charge of the National Planning Commission, will be one of the participants when the Chancellor of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, launches a high-profile Chancellor's Round Table for Economic Development at the University on Tuesday, 26 November 2013.

The Round Table will start at 15:30 for 16:00, and will take place in the Faculty of Economic and Management Studies (EMS) Building on the UWC campus.

As a forum, the Chancellor’s Round Table will provide a platform where different stakeholders such as government, business, community and the education sector can share critical insights and opinions related to the Economic Development agenda. Key participants in the inaugural Round Table will be Dr Trevor Manuel, the Minister in charge of the National Planning Commission; Mr Roeland Van De Geer, Ambassador of the European Union to South Africa; Ms Joan Fubbs, chairperson of the National Assembly Parliamentary Portfolio oversight committee on trade and industry; and Ms Gloria Serobe, chairperson of Wiphold Ltd and non-executive director of the JSE and Nedcor Bank Limited.

The Round Table aims to herald and reflect in 2014 on the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, where despite the gains of its 20-year-old democracy, challenges like poverty, inequality and unemployment persist.The forum aims to address these critical socio-economic challenges from fresh perspectives. It also aims to move beyond the podium by providing research and entrepreneurial development opportunities. In addition, the Round Table will include an initiative with established entrepreneurs through the South African Small and Medium Enterprise Federation (SASMEF), to mentor and coach aspiring entrepreneurs.

Dr Manuel makes strong references to the importance of collective action towards the common good when he refers to the state’s objective of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030.

“We seek a country wherein all citizens have the capabilities to grasp the ever-broadening opportunities available,” he said. “Our plan is to change the life chances of millions of our people, especially the youth. South Africa has the means, the goodwill, the people and the resources to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality. It is within our grasp.” The Finance Minister, Mr Pravin Gordhan, has pinned his economic policy to the National Development Plan (NDP), saying it provides a strong platform for collaborative partnerships across society, and for transition to a faster-growing and more inclusive economy.The Chancellor’s Round Table dovetails with these sentiments. “We therefore need to consider tangible approaches to impacting the lives of ordinary citizens,” says Makgoba. The key stakeholders in this initiative include the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at UWC, government officials, SASMEF, scholars and researchers from UWC, civil society, local communities and students of Economic Development.The Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Gill Marcus, was recently quoted by Reuters as saying, “The economy is facing a difficult time as it is buffeted by both global and domestic challenges.” Makgoba commented on Dr Marcus’s statement: “This sentiment distils widespread concerns for the fortunes of South Africa’s economy. The economic headwinds of the past few years have shown that the world is both changing and uncertain. South Africa needs to trim its sails and alter course accordingly. This calls for imaginative and bold action in respect of South Africa’s options for economic development.”