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The past decade has not been easy for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners. GDP growth has been almost non-existent for most of the past ten years, and despite a widely held – and correct – belief that SMEs hold the keys to job creation and economic growth, they’ve largely been left to fend for themselves.
For a country always in need of cheering up, recent news of better-than-expected economic growth was most welcome. StatsSA data showed that the economy grew by 4.6% after inflation in the first quarter on a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis.
Franchising has at its heart the spirit of entrepreneurship but amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in immeasurable destruction of small businesses, the question remains whether the entrepreneurial flame can be re-ignited for future growth.
The South African economy, like many emerging and developing economies, has high levels of poverty. As with many such countries, there are three primary objectives to reducing poverty, unemployment and inequity. These three objectives take precedence over almost all other goals.
The spread of coronavirus, COVID-19, beyond China has created fresh uncertainty for the global growth outlook and sparked volatility in financial markets. Outbreaks in South Korea, Iran and Italy have raised concerns that the spread outside of China may be accelerating.
As we enter a new decade, CEOs are showing record levels of pessimism in the global economy, with 53% predicting a decline in the rate of economic growth in 2020. This is up from 29% in 2019 and just 5% in 2018 – the highest level of pessimism since we started asking this question in 2012.
With GDP growth prospects forecast at a meagre 1.3% for 2019, and 1.7% in 2020, business confidence in mid-2019 remains at an all-time low. Exacerbated by policy uncertainty, debilitating bouts of power cuts, challenges in industries such as mining, and political events like national elections, getting out of the slump continues to be a pipe dream for corporate South Africa.
Few countries in transition have managed to get a grip on their public finances as well as South Africa did after 1994. Now, just more than 20 years later, the nation’s credibility and the democratic project lie in tatters as we teeter on the brink of a political and fiscal cliff.