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The global economic landscape has undergone a seismic shift since the arrival of COVID-19 over a year ago. However, while the pandemic caused significant business challenges, it also triggered and accelerated many innovations as organisations adapted to change, often simply to survive.
Over the past decade, South Africa has seen a sharp increase in the number of people earning an income outside of formal employment. For some, the need for a self-generated income arose from falling victim to the country’s steadily rising unemployment figures.
The bank is taking a cautious approach due to pandemic uncertainty but says payouts may resume as early as June. Nedbank won't be paying a final dividend for 2020 after rising credit impairments, fewer transactions and falling interest rates resulted in a big decline in full-year earnings. But it is confident that payouts will resume this year.
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.
The banking group is hopeful that impairments will decline, and client activity will continue to improve as the year progresses. Nedbank believes the worst may be behind it after suffering a large decline in first-half earnings due to what is has billed as the Great Lockdown Crisis (GLC).
Over the years it became clear that financial statements on their own did not tell the whole story of a company’s performance. Companies therefore started reporting on their environmental impacts, employee-related issues and corporate social responsibility issues.