OECD Territorial Reviews: The Gauteng City-Region, South Africa 2011

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: The Gauteng City-Region, South Africa 2011

With 22% of the national population (11.2 million inhabitants), the Gauteng city-region is the largest and richest region in South Africa, contributing to one-third of national GDP. The area encompasses a series of connected cities, including Johannesburg and the national capital of Tshwane (formerly Pretoria), that function as a single, integrated region. Gauteng has been South Africa’s growth engine: for every additional 1% growth in population in the province, 1.6% is added to its contribution to national growth, implying higher productivity than in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, the city-region’s growth potential is constrained by deep socio-economic challenges, including high unemployment (26.9%) and low productivity growth. Its rapid demographic and economic development has also reinforced the spatial segregation instituted under apartheid.

Against the backdrop of South Africa’s achievements since the fall of apartheid, this Review evaluates measures to position economic development policy and to confront economic inequality in Gauteng. The issues of adequate housing as a catalyst of economic development and a vehicle for socioeconomic integration, transport mobility and public service delivery are examined in detail. The Review also assesses the economic growth potential of the manufacturing and green sectors, as well as governance issues, focussing on the potential of intergovernmental collaboration in advancing a cross-cutting regional approach for Gauteng.  


A growing but polarised city-region

This chapter provides a profile of the Gauteng city-region’s leading economic and demographic trends and offers an analytical framework for policy recommendations. The chapter begins with a definition of the city-region and then offers a critical assessment of its economic performance, innovation potential and environmental constraints. Considerable achievements in public service delivery and education are highlighted. The chapter also explores the legacy of apartheid spatial patterns on mobility, local economic development and land use patterns. The question of adequate housing receives particular attention, given its potential as a catalyst of economic development and a primary vehicle for socio-economic integration. Trends in population growth, provincial R&D expenditure, employment, patenting levels, air quality, poverty, household income distribution and transport access are reviewed. For a comparative analysis sensitive to the global nature of the economy, key indicators are benchmarked with the 90 OECD metro-regions of more than 1.5 million inhabitants that are included in the OECD Metropolitan Database.


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