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Business Words in the News

The South African President, Thabo Mbeki, has promised new measures to give blacks a larger share in the economy. Speaking after a two-hour meeting with members of the Black Business Council, he said he was personally disappointed with the progress so far. Our Africa business editor Mark Ashurst reports.
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President Mbeki 13th April 2001

Black business opportunities in South Africa

NEWS 1  
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President Thabo Mbeki acknowledged the complaint from some of South Africa's leading black businessmen that not enough has been done to give blacks a bigger stake in the country's economy.

Their demand for more government intervention to speed up Black Economic Empowerment -- Bee for short -- is hardly new. But Mr Mbeki's public response to a delegation led by his former political rival Cyril Ramaphosa recognised that measures to give blacks better access to capital and skills have fallen short of expectations. "Even snails move faster than we have moved on this issue," he said.


acknowledged - accepted, recognised

stake - if you have a stake in something then you have a part of it, you are invloved in it

demand - strong request

delegation - a group of people expressing a point of view in a meeting

rival - opponent

have fallen short of expectations - were not as successful as had been hoped

snails - small animals which carries their 'houses' on their backs and are famous for moving very slowly

NEWS 2  
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Mr Ramaphosa has called in the past for new laws to compel white-owned financial institutions to invest a proportion of their assets in black-controlled ventures. But such a prescriptive approach has been dismissed by ministers, who fear it would send the wrong signal to investors.

On that issue, Mr Mbeki is not likely to back down. As the architect of South Africa's economic reforms, he has speeded up privatisation and allowed some of the country's biggest companies to move their primary stock exchange listings to London.

But his pledge to do more to help black business reflects frustration that the market value of their companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has fallen by almost half over the past two years -- to just five-point-three per cent of the total.


to compel - to make someone do something even if they don't want to

a proportion - a percentage

assets - money and other goods that a company owns

ventures - plans and schemes

a prescriptive approach - a very controlled way of dealing with a situation

to back down - to change your mind and do what you said you wouldn't do

pledge - promise


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