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Despite perceiving the overall risks to CPI as on the upside, all five members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 3.5%. The repo rate has been on this level since 23 July 2020.
Although it is famous among middle-class tourists for its exquisite beaches, life in the OR Tambo district municipality in the former Transkei is far from beautiful for its residents. The district is one of the most deprived places in the country. Barely 6% of homes have piped water while less than one in ten households have flush toilets.
The socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is especially hard-hitting for younger generations in Africa. The youth are faced with multiple challenges including disruptions to education, training and on-the-job learning. The youth are further impacted by employment and income losses due to lay-offs and reduced working hours.
Generating long-term economic growth and employment is the most sustainable way to boost tax revenues and stabilise the debt-to-GDP ratio, especially if augmented by the reduction in government spending and the restructuring of spending towards investment.
Fund managers and institutional investors can stimulate the domestic economy and create inclusive jobs by investing more in mid-market companies. Mid-market companies have cemented their position in the sectors of the economy they operate in and have great potential from both an economic and job growth perspective.
In an age where a business is now largely conducted online, access to reliable and fast internet connection is now more important than ever. Due to COVID-19, supply chain systems and customer service have moved online, and business broadband is playing an essential role in making this happen.
The GDP print for the fourth quarter of 2020 has come in better than expected, seeing markets respond positively in terms of rand strength and bond yields. Year-on-year GDP fell by 4.1% compared to the expected 4.6% decline, while on a quarter-on-quarter, annualised basis we saw a very strong 6.3% versus an expected 5.6%.
The Department of Home Affairs is currently calling for public comment on the draft of a new Critical Skills List. However, Foreign Language Speakers, a role that featured in the previous list, has been omitted from the draft List. Foreign language employees are more valuable than the language they speak and are critical to job creation inside South Africa’s borders.
Most small and medium businesses in South Africa had a very difficult 2020 financial year, with many, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors, having to close their doors. Those that survived the pandemic now find themselves having to rebuild – a task made more difficult by a stunted economic environment, with low levels of consumer discretionary income.
Although the rise of COVID-19 presented many challenges to our country in the year 2020, it stimulated the growth of technological innovations that we can build on to the effects on how we do business, how we trade, how we work, how we produce goods, how we learn, how we seek medical services and how we entertain ourselves in 2021.