Minds, not mines, create wealth

06 July 2011 - 01:45 By Ntsakisi Maswanganyi
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The debate in South Africa should not be so much about nationalisation, but rather about how people can be skilled and trained, according to Absa Group chief executive Maria Ramos.

"We're having the wrong debate in our country," Ramos told a Black Management Forum seminar at the Soweto campus of the University of Johannesburg on Monday.

Some in the country, most notably the ANC Youth League, have been calling for the nationalisation of mines, saying it would reduce poverty levels.

"We're getting ourselves a little confused here. We think that it is the stuff that sits under the ground that's going make us rich. Well it isn't. The stuff that sits under the ground is going to run out at some point. It's the stuff that sits in our heads that's never going to run out," she cautioned.

Ramos called on everyone to be concerned about society "getting more unequal", saying South Africa needed "to have growth that creates jobs".

She said South Africa had a big unemployment problem, in particular among young people, but added that the country should not be too hard on itself regarding this.

"We are not the only country that's facing a youth unemployment problem. If we think we are, we've got the wrong end of the stick here," she said.

"It's not just about having the right policies, but it's about whether we do the things we say we're going to do, whether we do them with discipline, whether we execute the plans we put in place, whether we're committed to that, whether we deliver," she added.

Small and medium business development was important for the bank, said Ramos. The real challenge for banks after the economic recession, she said, was identifying opportunities where investments could be made. -I-Net Bridge

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