The only way out of the cycle of unemployment, poverty and inequality which is undermining South Africa’s future is to achieve higher and more labour-intensive levels of economic growth. Among other things, this requires dramatically expanding the pool of skills available to the South African economy.
Rapid growth, an effective state, increased employment and widespread inclusion all depend on our getting better at how we produce skills for more and more South Africans at all levels of education and training.
Educational reform takes time. Until we have a much more effective skills pipeline, we should take advantage of the benefits foreign-trained workers can deliver to South Africa’s economy.
Rapid growth could be boosted dramatically if the country was serious about attracting foreign skills of all kinds in large numbers.
South Africa is to make greatly increased use of foreign skills. The key change in mind set is to understand that foreign skills will not simply occupy those positions that at present we cannot fill with our own skilled people, but will also grow and expand the economy and our skills and training capacity. All of this in turn will help create more economic opportunities and employment for South Africans both with and without skills.