SOUTH AFRICA has had its fair share of disappointment. Corruption in every sphere of government. A ruling party that has to some extant, captured the judiciary. A leftist project which has delivered dismal economic performance and GDP figures which place us alongside Argentina, Thailand and Colombia. If you’re a clueless commentator like the Financial Mail’s Chris Roper, unable to see the wood for the trees, and who believes ‘the apocalypse is now now’, then here is a list of what is going right:
Thriving Arts Sector
The South African Cultural Observatory (Saco) in Port Elizabeth — which maps, measures, values and calculates the gross domestic product (GDP) contribution of South Africa’s cultural and creative industries — pegs it at R63-billion a year.
This is a small but not insignificant contribution to GDP, and unlike many sectors continues to deliver growth
Automotive Made in South Africa
One thing that our President is doing right, pumping the automotive sector, which continues to produce export quality vehicles. He recently unveiled the Tshwane Automotive Hub at the Ford Motor Company in Pretoria. Part of the Tshwane Special Economic Zone which diversifies the country’s already major auto hub in Nelson Mandela Bay. Almost 19% more vehicles were exported so far this year, compared with 2018.
Emerging Renewables Market
Although competing for government spend alongside parastatel Eskom, the groundwork has been laid for renewables to step into the gap left by unreliable coal projects. In 2016 South Africa was ranked first for its addition in concentrated solar power. Latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2018 allocations indicate 8 100 MW for wind, 5 670 MW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) and 2 400 MW of small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) to be procured by 2030, which has the potential of attracting in excess of R200 billion in the next 12 years.
While South Africa has a modest 54 percent internet penetration it experienced 7 percent growth from 2017. More citizens are gaining access every day and South Africans spend an average of 8 hours and 32 minutes on the internet per day via any device. Revenue in the local eCommerce market amounts to US$3,308m in 2019. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2019-2024) of 8.3%, resulting in a market volume of US$4,930m by 2024.
Thanks to post-apartheid reforms, the country’s middle class increased by 30% between 2001 and 2004. After a period of recession following 2009, this trend looks set to continue which is why the WWF observes ‘a shift from staple grain crops to a more diverse diet’. Accordingly South Africans have shown a decrease in the consumption of the staples maize and bread, and have massively increased their annual consumption of chicken from 6kg to 27kg per person.
Worth considering that despite land anxiety and uncertainty, climate change and water scarcity, the country remains a net exporter of agricultural products.
African Financial Hub
South Africa is well-positioned to take advantage of its position as a gateway to the continent. The sector contributes some 22% to GDP. Innovation in financial services has made South African banks extremely competitive, responsive and able to deliver what consumers need, low fees, digital access and more on the way.
BRICS development funds
Funds coming our way as a result of the BRICS bank initiative include $200-million loan to Transnet to expand the capacity of Durban port, $300-million loan to the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) for on-lending to sustainable development projects, R1.15-billion loan to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for on-lending to renewable energy sub-projects $480-million loan, to Eskom to retrofit flue-gas desulphurisation equipment, to make Medupi power plant compliant.
NOTE: Sorry Chris, if you want to apportion blame, Stephen Hawkings says, greed and stupidity is what will end the world, not merely politicians.