South African President Jacob Zuma has outlined a number of proposals aimed at boosting employment in a country where the jobless rate stood at 27.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2016.

Speaking during his annual State of the Nation Address to a joint session of Parliament here Thursday night, President Zuma said that while indications were that South Africa had entered a period of recovery, the economy was still not growing fast enough to create the jobs needed.

The plans he announced include: the establishment of an Invest SA One-Stop Shop; taking advantage of tourism as a job driver; scaling up the Expanded Public Works Programme; and using the development of public infrastructure as a way to create work opportunities.

He said the government would use the nine-point plan announced in the 2015 State of the Nation Address to help speed up growth and employment. Key pillars of the plan include resolving the energy challenge, promoting agriculture and agro-processing, advancing processing, and encouraging private sector investment.

President Zuma said the government had also identified tourism as a key job driver. “We are thus pleased that our tourist arrival numbers for the period January to November 2016 increased to nine million, an increase of just over one million arrivals from 2015. This represents a thirteen per cent growth in tourist arrivals,” he said.

In addition, the government runs effective poverty alleviation programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

“The EPWP has since 2014, created more than two million work opportunities towards the attainment of the target of six million work opportunities by the end of March 2019. Of the work opportunities created, more than one million have been taken up by the youth.”

President Zuma noted that during 2015/2016, more than 61,000 work opportunities were created through the Environmental Programmes such as Working for Water, Working for Wetlands, Working on Fire and Working for Ecosystems. More than 60 per cent of the beneficiaries were young people.

This has led to job creation in the Northern Cape and diversification of the economy through the creation of artisan and maintenance jobs, and the promotion of science as a career of choice.

On road infrastructure, South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (Sanral) has started with the planning phase of the 4.5 billion Rand (about 330 million US dollars) project to upgrade the current Moloto road, a 160-kilomtre stretch of road which runs through three provinces and carries more than 150,000 commuters daily, most of them heading to and from work in Pretoria.

In 2014, the government launched Operation Phakisa Big Fast results methodology in the ocean economy, health, education and mining sectors. The purpose was to find a few key projects where it could unlock growth in implementing the National Development Plan.