We purposefully steer away from commenting on politics and economics in our MOTW as we believe keeping our head clear and focused on our own business is what is needed to keep on track. Having said that, we understand that we can’t turn a blind eye to our realities and it is useful to see some light at the end of the tunnel. The SME Movement team (http://www.smemovement.org/) recently sent out a newsletter which is worthy of sharing. They sought out a variety of resources highlighting real-world data that helps us find the silver lining, by showing us incremental gains.
1. The recent oil and gas discovery could bring as much as R1 trillion into the South African economy in the next decade.
2. While the unemployment situation in South Africa is dire, very few people noticed the latest StatsSA which indicated that 149 000 people found work in the last quarter of 2018. There were employment gains in Finance and other business services (109 000), Private households (65 000), Manufacturing (48 000), Mining (31 000), Trade (14 000) and Agriculture (7 000) industries, which resulted in a net increase of 149 000 in the fourth quarter of 2018. Employment gains were recorded in five of the nine provinces in the fourth quarter of 2018. The largest employment increases were recorded in Gauteng (86 000), Free State (33 000) and Western Cape (26 000), while Eastern Cape (15 000) and North West (6 000) recorded the largest employment losses… yes we need a lot more jobs created, but businesses creating 149 000 jobs is a small sign of confidence returning.
3. Foreign Direct Investment into South Africa grew by 446% over 2018. While this is off a very low base and comes with certain caveats, there was nearly R100bn in new money which came into SA following President Ramaphosa’s investment drive. Industries which benefited included mining, petroleum refinery, food processing, information and communications technologies, and renewable energy.
4. Brand South Africa recently hosted an investment breakfast with a trade delegation from Hong Kong who were looking at bi-lateral trade opportunities in South Africa. Founder and CEO of Hong Kong based Acorus Capital, Ms. Maxine Barnett, who was a delegate at the South African Investment Conference, said: “There is a strong breeze in South Africa. There is a new wind in the sails. The private sector in South Africa is backing the country… there has never been a better time to consider investing in South Africa.”
While it is very difficult to keep your head up when load-shedding is hitting your business and economic growth is stagnant, it is important to remind ourselves of our own incremental gains we achieved last year. Refer back to week 50’s message of the week where we listed our local achievements in 2018.
On a global level, document solutions is manifesting growth in both sales revenue and business profit due to the aggressive investments made since the previous fiscal year. In addition to investment to increase production of ceramic parts for industrial machinery and capacitors, KYOCERA has enjoyed positive contributions from merger and acquisition activities conducted from the previous fiscal year, which has enabled improved business.
In an environment that may seem hostile at a cursary glance, when we dig deeper into our business from the design, manufacture, business approach and of course our local team, we see that incremental gains will continue in 2019.