Picture: 123RF/ROBERTS ROB
Picture: 123RF/ROBERTS ROB

In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, we round up the week’s top business and economics news from international summits to the ruling party’s meeting over the weekend, and interest rate cuts.

Our host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by François Conradie, a senior political economist with NKC African Economics to explore local and international economic developments affecting SA.

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The first part of the discussion looks at SA’s participation in global economic gatherings — the UK Africa Investment in London and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland which took place this week. President Cyril Ramaphosa was noticeably absent from these events despite his investment drive, choosing instead to send trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel, international relations minister Naledi Pandor and finance minister Tito Mboweni in his place.

Conradie says global summits are good for networking with world leaders but hardly ever result in policy resolutions as one would see at the UN, for example. It is definitely good for SA to have a presence there, but he says it was probably more important for Ramaphosa to tend to issues at home, such as the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla.

From the NEC, Conradie says it is interesting to see the ruling party taking a position on illicit capital flows and tax avoidance, as well as the control of assets under BEE. As good as the rhetoric is, Conradie notes that turning these pronouncements into policy is a complex task.

In the second half, the discussion shifts to news from earlier in the week that the International Monetary Fund has revised its growth forecast for SA down from 0.9% to 0.8% for the year. NKC African Economics still has their forecast at 0.9%, but Conradie says its projection may also change, depending on how things progress during the year. He will be monitoring the retail and mining sectors, in particular, together with agriculture as indications of where the SA economy is headed. 

The show ends by exploring the effect of the SA Reserve bank’s decision to cut interest rates.

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