"The challenge in my country and SA is to clean up the politics" - economist

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, global macroeconomics, and the fight against poverty.

He spoke at the Old Mutual Wisdom Forum held recently in Joburg.

His work on ending poverty, overcoming macroeconomic instability, promoting economic growth, fighting hunger and disease, and promoting sustainable environmental practices, has taken him to more than 125 countries.

At the forum he was tasked with sharing his thoughts around the theme Is globalization crumbling?

Following the event, Eusebius McKaiser chatted to Sachs about politics and corruption - and what our immediate priorities should be for South Africa.

If I had to list South Africa's priorities, number 1 would be education. Number 2 would be education. Number 3 would be education.

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

Jeffrey Sachs (second from the right) appears on the Old Mutual Wisdom Forum panel with JP Landman (far left), Prof Mthuli Ncube and MC Eusebius McKaiser.

Sachs is known for his support of education as a development strategy.

He cites the example of Korea where over a mere 40 years the population moved from poverty to relative wealth. Interestingly, many of the success factors he quotes are widely available in South Africa!

Use every tool that you can find right now... online connected classrooms, quality teaching - to make sure that you get exceptional educational performance.

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

Asked about the recent US election, Sachs rather directs his disdain to a recent US Supreme Court decision abolishing limits on campaign donations... a handy thematic link into the subject of corruption.

The money in politics is terrible, because then Governments are not directed at education, healthcare, and good roads - they are directed at making money and at staying in power.

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

In previewing his message to the business executives present at the event, Sachs says an idyllic productive environment is only possible with responsible business, ethical tax paying consumers and where government allocates those taxes fairly.

We need fair societies that honestly pay the taxes and governments that deliver the goods.

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University

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