Citing seven priorities, President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to restore the National Development Plan to its place at the centre of our national effort, to make it alive and to make it part of the lived experience of the South African people.
As Nigeria exits the recession of 2017, investor sentiment across West Africa is likely to experience uplift in 2018. Still, political uncertainty ahead of Nigeria’s 2019 presidential elections and on-going security concerns are among the key risks for businesses operating in the region. 2017 has been a tough and turbulent year for businesses in the region, however with Nigeria exiting recession, and foreign exchange shortages easing, we see a strong improvement in investor sentiment emerging.
Small business representative organisation AHI says the news that the rating agency, Fitch, has downgraded South Africa's credit rating to sub-investment grade will lead to catastrophically lower economic growth, with some estimating billions of Rands in outflows and a doubling of our current account deficit.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget has been received very positively, as demonstrated by the reaction from markets. SA Inc companies have rallied, the rand initially strengthened, and even the bond market is acting positively. However, while there are notes of hope, this budget also demonstrates a number of key risks, overly optimistic assumptions and potential weaknesses, pointing to an extremely challenging path ahead for the country.
Government's first duty is to protect the rights of citizens. Instead, ours has prioritised yet another bailout of R10.5 billion for the failed South African Airways (SAA), with a further R6.5 billion in the pipeline. This while citizens die in hospitals lacking basic personal protective equipment, staff and oxygen supplies, and there remains no vaccine on the horizon.
The realisation came when I least expected it. We had been out of South Africa for five years when we met my parents, siblings and their families for a family holiday. Our children by then had gained New York accents and were stylishly attired in their overpriced fashion items, whilst the nieces and nephews marauded through the hotel in their 'Naartjie' outfits that were more akin to pajamas than to fashion.
The idea of a digital state where different areas of government digitise data and collaborate to provide services for its citizens has been a long stated ambition for the South African government, as part of its push to embrace the 4th industrial revolution - but now it’s more important than ever.
Milton Friedman is one of my favourite people, but I must say I found his 'A Friedman doctrine - The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase It's Profits' a little disappointing. The title is not the problem. It is the points he makes and the logical leaps he takes.