Disaggregating BRICS SOEs: Governance and Developmental Growth

Project leader: Prof Modimowabarwa Kanyane, University of Venda

Across the world, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are important economic drivers in several significant economies, contributing
to gross domestic product and delivering many social goods and services to ensure a better quality of life for all. That said, many SOEs experience governance failures, hampering their ability to fulfil their developmental mandates.

In April and July 2021, Prof Modimowabarwa Kanyane and the team conducted two webinars to explore solutions to the challenges facing SOEs in BRICS countries.

The first webinar, “Disaggregating BRICS SOEs: governance and developmental growth”, explored political and economic issues and SOE reforms undertaken to improve their capacity to address their countries’ socio-economic needs and those of the BRICS community in general.

Some of the challenges raised during this webinar were poor accountability of SOEs, political interference, lack of oversight, patronage networks and organisational inefficiencies and a lack of performance-based incentives. Professor W Gumede of Wits University said poor performance often goes unpunished, although there are exceptions. In China, senior executive officers and board members of SOEs had their salaries cut during lean times and no bonuses are paid out if SOEs fail to deliver on their mandates