The five breakaway sessions on day 1 (2017) covered entrepreneurship development; training and skills development; improving economic production by investing in people; construction and economic transformation. Their key takeaways:

• Entrepreneurship Development (sponsored by PMI) – the key challenges we face in South Africa are leadership (in public and private sectors) and the structure of our economy. Does it mobilise entrepreneurship? We have a collective responsibility to make this work – all hands on deck – “we can meet the NDP goals”.

• Training and skills development (sponsored by AMSCO) – this session looked at radical economic transformation and determined that we need to change the way we look at things, how we think. An integrated approach is needed to address the skills gap across the country and the continent – transforming the economy through the human capital lens.

• Improving economic productivity by investing in people (sponsored by MMI holdings) – productive employees are essential for the realisation of Vision 2030 and a thriving economy. Ensuring productive presenteeism (when staff are both physically and mentally present because they are not stressed) means ensuring employee financial wellness. Caring for staff in good and bad times results in lasting loyalty and increased productivity. The Forbes top 100 companies are all seriously concerned about their employees – and have realised there is an interaction between financial wellness of their staff and the financial wellness of the business.

• Construction and infrastructure development (sponsored by Basil Read) – 2030 is only 13 years away. Time is not on our side. Planning, or lack thereof, is a key roadblock to being where we should be. Our road network is good but needs to be better. Funding is a key issue – if needs be we should borrow – South Africa has a 60% debt ratio to GDP. We need to get moving – we need to build, we can build, we need the bricks and mortar.

• Economic transformation (sponsored by Old Mutual) – we need to re-imagine education. How do we prepare people for the digital economy? Let’s include the excluded and support marginalised schools – many of which are in rural areas – in this way we will be mainstreaming the rural economy.

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