South Africa economic update: building back better from COVID-19, with a special focus on jobs

The thirteenth edition of the South Africa Economic Update, Building back better from COVID-19, with a special focus on jobs, examines how supporting young entrepreneurs could be one of the ways the country could address, unemployment, among its other pressing social challenge in an environment of weakened economic growth. The Economic Update expects South Africa’s growth to rebound to 4% in 2021, the fastest pace in over a decade, bouncing back from last year’s deep contraction of 7%. However, medium-term prospects for higher and more inclusive growth remain constrained. Growth is expected to slow down to 2.1% in 2022 and to 1.5% in 2023. This report reviews the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) on South Africa’s labor market, which has been marked by high levels of unemployment and inactivity, even at the best of times. The report finds that South Africa entered the COVID-19 pandemic with low levels of employment and a decade of weak job creation, far below the standards of most upper middle-income countries. It finds that despite the government’s solid response to the pandemic, jobs have been severely impacted, and recovery is slow.