One thing all economists seem to agree on is the necessity of the middle class. According to the OECD, in their report, ‘Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class’, “a strong and prosperous middle class is crucial for any successful economy and cohesive society. The middle class sustains consumption, it drives much of the investment in education, health and housing and it plays a key role in supporting social protection systems through its tax contributions. Societies with a strong middle class have lower crime rates, they enjoy higher levels of trust and life satisfaction, as well as greater political stability and good governance.”
That said, a major global concern at the moment is the erosion of the middle class. Income inequality seems to be growing with each passing day, with the gap between the very rich and the very poor getting wider and wider.
So, if the middle class is so essential to the prosperity of a country, what can South Africa do to ensure that not only is our existing middle class bolstered, but that it is also added to? What can we as South Africans do to create a sustainable South African middle class?
“First and foremost, we need to get the people of South Africa working,” says Angie Lanham-Love, CEO of Lanham-Love Consulting, a 73.57% Black Owned Level 2 BEE Entity that specialises in achieving maximum B-BBEE benefit for the businesses they work with. “The fact that we have such a high unemployment rate means that we have fewer people contributing to and participating in our economy.”
A big part of the unemployment issue in South Africa is not that we have a lack of work. “There are many skilled positions in South Africa right now that are going unfilled,” says Lanham-Love. “This is not because our people can’t do the job – South Africans are some of the most driven, innovative people you will ever meet. It’s because we have not, as a country, done what it takes to get our people educated and empowered.”
“If we can focus on programmes that upskill and develop the people of South Africa, if we can shift our perspective of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment from being a ‘have to’ and instead see it as an investment in the future of South African businesses and our economy as a whole, if we can work together, as business, as government, as the communities in which business and government operate,” says Lanham-Love, “there’s no telling just how far we will be able to go.”
If you want to ensure that your transformation strategy aligns with your business strategy, Lanham-Love Consulting has the tool set which encompasses everything necessary to ensure that your transformation strategy will lead to business growth. Lanham-Love Consulting is perfectly positioned to ensure comprehensive B-BBEE compliance – contact us today to