Overview of industrial policy
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This chapter analyses the impact of industrial policy on the demand for labour. Its shows that South Africa?s industrial development has historically been driven by minerals extraction and import-substitution industrialisation, overlaid by apartheid policies aimed at excluding the majority of the population from the economy. This entrenched a growth path characterised by capital-intensive production processes, a paucity of skilled labour, and exceptionally high levels of unemployment. The post 1994 period has seen a radical shift from the protectionist policies of the past. Trade liberalisation and supply-side policies have succeeded in improving the international competitiveness of manufactured exports. However, high levels of unemployment persist among unskilled and semi-skilled workers, as do high levels of inequality. The chapter concludes that human resource development (HRD) policies should adopt a two-pronged approach: a short- to medium-term emphasis on developing unskilled labour for jobless in the non-tradable sector and a long-term objective of enlarging the pool of skilled labour in line with the pattern of demand emerging in the manufacturing sector.