South Africa’s Zuma Outines Plan to Create Jobs, Lift Economy

Posted February 9th, 2012 at 2:00 pm (UTC-5)
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South Africa's president has outlined what he calls a massive infrastructure drive to help create jobs and stimulate the economy.

During his state of the nation address on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said the plan must not only create “power stations, rail lines, dams and roads.” He said the initiative must also “industrialize the country, generate skills and boost much-needed job creation.”

In 2010, President Zuma promised to create five million news jobs by the year 2020. South Africa's economy, the largest on the continent, has bounced back from the global recession but official unemployment still stands at 24 percent.

Mr. Zuma said the country has made strides in health, education and fighting crime, but he acknowledged that unemployment, poverty and inequality are still major challenges.

The president also acknowledged that basic services such as access to water must be provided in some areas.

Support for the ruling African National Congress party eroded in the last parliamentary polls, in part because many poor townships lack such services.

President Zuma was elected to a five-year term in May of 2009.