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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Leveraging Services for Employment, Growth and Equity: Botox and Bridges: South African Exports of Health and Construction Services

Research Report, Employment Growth & Development Initiative, Human Sciences Research Council

Using case studies of the South African construction and health services sectors, Stern outlines the main methodological and policy challenges facing developing countries in assessing the economic and social implications of service liberalisation. While the findings are preliminary and the policy conclusions speculative, the paper provides examples of key analytical difficulties in analysing services. More importantly, it highlights the need for government to develop integrated service sector strategies that recognise the contribution of trade to development policy and the impact of domestic regulations on trade. Stern begins with a brief review of South Africa’s trade in services. He then proposes an alternative approach for analysing such trade, which looks beyond the General Agreement of Trade in Services (GATS) framework to reflect the economic and social impact of liberalisation. This approach is then applied to the South African health and construction service sectors. The conclusions from the case studies are summarised in the final section.

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