Poverty is a multi-faceted phenomenon that goes beyond mere paucity of income. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reflects an understanding of poverty as human deprivation by including indices for health and education in its Human Development Index (HDI). This article reflects on South Africa’s chequered HDI performance. It cites China’s record in reducing poverty and hazards the suggestion that a similar economic approach, if adopted locally, could have the effect of freeing the business sector from regulations that have inhibited entrepreneurship, and by extension, pro-poor growth. South Africa has haemorrhaged skills at an unacceptable level and, where this is attributable to post-apartheid legislation, this legislation needs to be revisited.
Key words: Poverty alleviation, South Africa, business regulation, human development index.
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