Cape Town - South Africa will roll out a big infrastructure spending programme and large-scale employment stimulus to revive an economy that was ailing even before the coronavirus crisis, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday. Unveiling a COVID-19 economic recovery plan in parliament, Ramaphosa said the government would unlock more than one trillion rand ($60 billion) in infrastructure investment over the next four years and would create more than 800,000 jobs in the immediate term: "We are embarking on a massive rollout of infrastructure throughout the country, - said Ramaphosa. - Infrastructure has immense potential for stimulate investment and growth, to develop other economic sectors and create sustainable employment both directly and indirectly."
Africa's most advanced economy was in recession before the novel coronavirus outbreak ravaged its economy, with the government's strict lockdown imposed late in March putting a major strain on businesses and households. The lockdown dragged growth to its worst contraction ever in the second quarter and cost the economy over two million jobs. The economic recovery plan was unveiled ahead of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni's medium term budget policy statement on Oct. 28.