Business Forum must change its focus

The Johannesburg Business Forum needs to change its focus, help narrow the inequality gap and accelerate economic growth in the City of Johannesburg.

This according to Leah Knott, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, who spoke at a meeting on 25 August to draft a framework for the re-launch of the forum, which was established to link the City and organised business associations.

The Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba previously said he wanted Joburg’s economy to grow by five per cent per year by 2021, which will effectively lead to a lower unemployment rate. As the economic hub of South Africa, the City has the biggest population in-migration of entrepreneurs and job seekers – ranging from multinationals in state-of-the-art high rises to the informal traders on the sidewalks – who came to the city attracted by the business opportunities it offers.

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Knott said since it was first established several years ago, sustainable business relationships have been built through the forum. Various business chambers from within the City are represented in the forum but does not represent the entire business community.

“Individuals representing different business formations and interest groups also participate in the business forum. Experienced business people should work together with smaller, emerging companies and entrepreneurs in the creation of wealth in a united Johannesburg,” she said.

“This will ensure a more united front in terms of investment into areas and reduce the miscommunication currently being experienced in various communities.”

Calling for a more focused departure within the forum, Knott said, is not an attack on its being, but rather done with the intention to reduce the gap between various sectors and communities within the economy. This would aid the development of various types of businesses by giving them the ability to function independently and enabling the private sector and the City to thrive across all levels, she said.

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