Business Day’s top 10 economy stories of 2019
Here are some of the most read economic stories of the year
1. The unprecedented levels of load-shedding early in the festive season reiterated that SA’s most serious economic challenges will persist in 2020. Throughout 2019, business leaders repeatedly expressed their concerns about, among others, the state of SA’s public entities.
2. Shortly after the medium-term budget policy statement, Moody’s Investors Service gave the finance minister three months to come up with concrete plans to stabilise SA’s debt. That was nearly two months ago.
3. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration was initially welcomed by the business sector. However, as many individuals and organisations have since warned, no hard decisions appear to have been taken to stabilise public debt.
4. Despite an apparent skills shortage in SA, the president believes the country can create its own Silicon Valley. Cyril Ramaphosa says his administration is committed to a skills revolution aimed at ensuring SA’s place in the future.
5. As SA’s economy is yet to show any signs of serious growth, unemployment has risen to an almost record high. President Cyril Ramaphosa believes his investment drive has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of job opportunities.
6. In the winter of 2019, the SA Reserve Bank showed signs that it might lower interest rates. As the country enters 2020, many are still calling on the central bank to cut rates.
7. Many sectors struggled to show signs of growth in 2019. According to Stats SA, the construction industry was still in recession by the end of the third quarter.
8. In many instances, politics gets in the way of business in SA. This was again shown in the response to the finance minister’s growth plan, which envisaged a number of structural reforms to the economy.
9. A month after President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected back into office, largely with the hope that he would to tackle the country’s financial problems, SA recorded its worst quarterly economic growth figures since the global financial crisis.
10. At the end of October, the finance minister painted a sobering picture of SA’s financial situation. While the candid assessment was initially welcomed, Tito Mboweni failed to address a number of challenges, postponing many hard decisions to 2020.