The National Development Plan (NDP) formulated by the National Planning Commission (NPC) in the Presidency has relatively broad support from stakeholders that include government, the private sector, civil society and development partners. The banking sector is committed to the ongoing socio-economic development of the South African society. The sector is a key enabler and participant in economic, social and political development and the NDP provides the broad vision under which the sector can fulfill this role.
The aim is to reduce inequality and eliminate poverty through an inclusive economy, enable an effective state and promote partnerships. The banking sector has supported and endorsed the NDP and has effectively aligned and contributed to the realisation of the NDP. However, the banking sector also recognises that the NDP has a finite scope, whereas the industry’s goals for an inclusive economy extend much further. These are some of the ways the banking sector is making an impact:
- Infrastructure Development – Investment and finance for infrastructure development is crucial for the economic growth of our country. The banking sector invests in this industry to support South Africa’s medium and long-term economic objectives. Apart from conceptualising and implementing major infrastructure projects, The banking sector also plays an important role in the formation of a suitable investment environment for the private sector to participate in; it identifies blockages in investments, makes recommendations and assists with problem solving. The banking sector builds an atmosphere of collaboration and confidence amongst private and public sectors to promote infrastructure financing.
- Human Settlements – Human settlements receives a substantial amount of attention, to address the spatial patterns that exacerbate economic inefficiency and social inequality. To address these issues, the NDP recommends that more sustainable living and working environments are created, and the banking sector plays a vital role in this area. The sector offers comprehensive residential, commercial and industrial solutions, in both the affordable housing and middle and upper income housing markets.
- Small and Medium Enterprises – SME’s have been identified as a significant contributor to South Africa’s economic growth. Apart from fostering change through the development of new and untapped sectors in the economy, SME’s also provide a platform for local and international growth. SME's enable capital growth and create employment, growth in investments, as well as an increase in research and development and manufacturing and production activities. The banking sector provides financial support and advisory services for SME’s. The sector provides mentoring programmes, assists with business planning and promotes capital formation. The banking sector is also committed to the development of SME’s through stakeholder engagement and ownership and participation in several SME initiatives.
- Financial Inclusion – Financial inclusion is a critical enabler for economic and social development. The banking sector continues to innovate in this area and the range, quality and availability of financial services and products continue to expand. The range of products span the full spectrum of the market and quality customer care and consumer financial education programmes are also being implemented. The innovation in this sector has translated into increasing numbers of people having access to banking, as evident in the annual Finscope Survey 2014 conducted by Finmark Trust.
- Financial Sector Code– The Financial Sector Code is a critical transformation tool based on the terms of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment [BBBEE] Act (53 of 2003). It promotes transformation initiatives in the banking sector in personnel demographics, access to financial services, SME finance, financing of human settlements and other elements. The Financial Sector Code is one instrument through which the banking sector promotes Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. We are committed to enabling the active and sustainable participation of black people in the economy, as an essential element for sustainable and high levels of economic growth.