13 February, 2019
"Vital source of hope" for SA
is a large dose of weariness in our society,
but the majority of South Africans are
peace-loving and rational, and our economy
is resourceful and diverse.
is sufficient skill and capacity in the
country for a real turn-around of the
socio-economic challenges, providing us with
a "vital source of hope". However, this will
require focused and sustained ethical
leadership in both the private and public
sector for the next decade.
are some of the messages from leading
economist and futurist Iraj Abedian in a
wide-ranging interview with the Dolphin Bay
Brief. "I do not wish to underestimate the
challenges, but I have no doubt that
collectively we are able to deal with
Ramaphosa is trying to rebuild the country
following Jacob Zuma's presidency, which
tore apart our society and some of our key
institutions. The new president is facing
resistance from within the ANC and from
other parties. The focus needs to be on
"rebuilding unity and coherence, not so much
in words and promises but in policy and
younger and skilled black population
recognises the legacy issues, but feels
able to overcome them."
pains of the past are too many, and they
have been compounded by the post-apartheid
pains of blatant corruption, incompetence
and the rise of mediocracy within both the
public and private sectors," Iraj said.
legacy issues are talked about, and yet not
enough is being done. The younger and more
skilled black population recognises these
issues but feels competent and able to
overcome them. It is the uneducated,
employable and economically side-lined who
do not see the way out and focus on the
evils of the past."
South Africans may be experiencing identity
crises regarding race, gender and
inter-generational differences, this is no
different in essence from that felt in other
countries, including the United Kingdom,
Europe, the United States and those in the
course, each nation has its own history and
specificities, yet the prevailing identity
crisis is primarily the product of an
evolutionary process, where mankind needs to
think as mankind, as opposed to as a
collection of independent sovereign nations
or tribes. The extent of our integration has
reached an irreversible point, no matter who
and which forces fight it.
the past we had a similar phenomenon where
sovereign states were being born over local
and regional dynasties and the domains of
warlords. Likewise, in today's world, the
notion and operation of ‘sovereign states'
as we know them, are no longer viable.
has caused the convulsion we experience in
the form of each nation's identity crisis.
South Africa is no different."
this light, exclusive ideologies such as US
President Donald Trump's "America First" and
Brexit in the UK are a serious and real
threat. However, they are "the last kicks of
a dying horse."
leaders will try to use race, some language
and some ethnicity in their efforts to gain
support, but all are equally unviable in the
21st century. They will cause uncertainty,
additional risks and even civil strife, yet
ultimately the systemic gravity is against
other commentators have noted, the buying
power of the middle class has diminished in
recent decades due to a concentration of
income and wealth among the very rich. This
is a complex process brought about by a mix
of globalisation, financialisation and
digitalisation, but has been experienced
more harshly in developed nations than in
emerging countries such as South Africa.
originates from those with disposable
incomes, so the focus needs to be on the
rate at which the middle and upper-income
groups grow or stagnate. At present, thanks
to growth in China, India and some other
emerging-market countries, the overall
growth in these income groups is still high,
and they can afford to buy manufactured
goods. If global confidence is retained,
this affordability will be maintained.
ideologies such as "America First" are a
serious and real threat, but they are
also the last kicks of a dying horse."
best, projections for growth of the global
economy are 3%, in line with the world's
average long-term growth. This augurs well
for the demand in emerging markets. The key
threat to this projection is the US-China
manufacturing is likely to grow in line with
global demand, although South African
manufacturing is facing head winds as the
Eskom financial crisis brings the prospect
of power-supply uncertainties, price hikes
and elevated tax rates. "The fact that the
first half of the year will almost certainly
be elections-focused will not help either
GDP growth or the manufacturing sector,"
Iraj said. "In all likelihood, the year may
end up with just over 1% GDP growth."
nature of manufacturing itself is changing.
It is now technologically feasible to
produce goods of a higher quality than
previously, for local or regional markets
rather than global ones. This could lead to
happier and better-off societies. It is
coming about due to the changing nature of
manufacturing and the falling cost of
"The days of mass production leading
to falling unit cost may be fast ending,"
said Iraj. "This is one of the key
disruptive forces at play."
Source: Dolphin Bay Chemicals