What are the main developmental or industrial challenges in both Belgium and South Africa?

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The main developmental or industrial challenges in South Africa.

Currently, the main challenge facing South Africa is that of inadequate infrastructure. The necessity for the kind of modernized infrastructure that can propel economic growth cannot be underestimated. Concurrent with the challenge of poor infrastructure is the dismal economic outlook for most of South Africa's disadvantaged black citizens (especially women and youth).

The definition of infrastructure can theoretically be divided into two areas: economic and social; however, the elements involved in both are often interchangeable. Economic infrastructure involves industries such as the transport, water supply, sanitation, and communication industries. Social infrastructure includes the cultural and recreational industries as well as the health and education industries.

Good infrastructure is imperative to a vibrant economy. In recent years, inadequate communications, power supply, and transport infrastructure have adversely affected GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth in South Africa. Poor transport infrastructure increases the cost of operating a business. When business owners must spend more money in transporting finished products, less profit is generated. This leads to less investment in research and development and certainly, less growth in workforce employment in South Africa. Likewise, poor communications infrastructure adversely impacts South Africa's international trade prospects.

In December of 2015, due to a weak business climate, persistent labor controversies, and continued power shortages,  Standard and Poor's credit ratings agency downgraded South Africa's economic outlook from stable to negative. At present, labor controversies largely stem from the fact that poor educational prospects among the disadvantaged South African black population has led to decreased economic opportunities for this group. Unemployment rates are high and continuing to climb for South Africa's minorities. At the same time, affirmative action policies that have increased minority access to advanced education has ironically led to increased migration among this group. The 'brain drain' factor is a significant challenge to industrial growth in South Africa. Read about challenges in the area of social infrastructure in South Africa.

So, poor infrastructure adversely impacts industrial growth in South Africa. Read about the nine major developmental and industrial challenges in South Africa.

The main developmental or industrial challenges in Belgium.

 

The main challenge Belgium faces is that it depends entirely on imports for its energy needs. This literally means that it imports 100% of the oil, coal, and gas needed to power its economy. With increased global competition for these resources, Belgium finds itself working against time to secure alternative sources of energy (such as wind and solar) for its needs.

Currently, Belgium produces at least 55% of its electricity from its nuclear reactors. However, the increasing industrial challenge is that, according to new Belgian laws, these nuclear reactors have to be phased out of existence to allow for a 100% renewable-energy powered economy by 2050. The challenge lies in minimizing investment costs in developing renewable electricity, transport, and heat industries for the country.

The European Commission has strongly recommended that the Belgium government pause its nuclear restructuring plans in order to ensure that the country's energy security is not severely impacted, electricity costs are kept stable to protect industrial output, and EU (European Union) carbon emission standards are met. Protecting the energy infrastructure is especially crucial, as it greatly impacts foreign and trade investment prospects for the country.

Read more about Belgium's Energy Challenges.

Also, emerging economies in the EU consortium has led to greater competition for Belgium on the international market. In order to maintain any advantage, Belgium faces an increasing need to lower production costs. To do this, the country must invest in the modernization of its infrastructure. Belgium's low public investment in infrastructure in recent years has severely impacted industrial growth, left unmitigated the depreciation of capital assets, and decreased Belgium's competitive edge in the international arena.

The infrastructure of the Belgian economy, regularly singled out as one of its main strengths, could be jeopardized. In regard to employment, apart from the well-known handicaps represented by the low activity rate and the high level of unemployment, the qualitative aspects relating to human capital, namely labor training and organization, must also be taken into account. (Industry in Belgium).