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South Africa has experienced severe load shedding (i.e. controlled/scheduled power cuts), almost daily, since September 2022. This recent spike and high frequency of load shedding can be largely attributed to a significant drop in Energy Availability Factor of the coal fleet that has not been optimally maintained due to several factors.
The South African Rand (ZAR) is experiencing another tumultuous period. Following a robust rally last Tuesday, the Rand’s fortunes have taken a hit, with its earlier gains yielding to a more cautious market sentiment. Factors contributing to this turbulence include geo-political concerns in the Middle East, particularly Israel’s preparation for a potential offensive in Gaza, which has raised fears of energy supply disruptions and global economic repercussions.
On Wednesday, 24 May 2023, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (MTIC) published the Energy Users Block Exemption and Energy Supplier Block Exemption. The Energy Users Block Exemption allows for collaboration between energy users to respond to the current electricity supply constraints subject to a process of notification to the Competition Commission and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC).
South Africa’s data centre market, the largest in Africa with more than 20 co-location centres, is expected to grow to over $3.23 billion, from just $1.71 billion in 2021. These data centres reflect the rapacious demand for data to deliver our information needs, entertainment, and even our very lives.
We have released a South Africa’s anti-growth strategy report. The report argues that the slow economic growth of the last 15 years is the result of bad policy choices, a catastrophic decline in government performance and a devastating lack of leadership. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, the South African government does not have a growth strategy. If anything, it has an anti-growth strategy.
South Africans are getting poorer as wage increases lag behind inflation as the "Great Resignation" trend continues to grip employers. South African employers expect to award wage increases of 4% to 6% in the next 12-month period, which is substantially below the current 7% inflation rate, denting employee disposable income and placing pressure on companies to find new ways to keep staff engaged and retain critical skills.
Every South African is currently faced with the ongoing negative effects of rolling electricity blackouts, which Government euphemistically refers to as “load shedding”. It affects our businesses, our homes, our livelihoods, our safety and our faith in the future of our country.
Amidst the rising cost of living, interest rate and fuel price hikes, and load shedding, the elephant in the room remains persistently high rates of unemployment. Much fanfare tends to surround any announcement of a small decline in the quarterly unemployment rate as it did at the end of November 2022 when Statistics South Africa revealed that the official unemployment figure had decreased by one percentage point between the second and third quarters of 2022 from 33.9% to 32.9%.
South Africa’s energy shortage is having a profound impact on its cities. Economic growth and jobs continue to be affected at a time when cities urgently need to recover from the COVID-19 crisis to retain their competitiveness and attractiveness.
The agricultural sector across sub-Saharan Africa is critical to local and regional economies as a developmental base for food security and employment. Within it, there remains an invisible force driving productivity in the region and across the world.
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