The rand has strengthened by more than 10%; the market is pricing in interest rate cuts and has priced out a ratings downgrade. But how much have prospects for SA’s real economy truly changed over the past month? A lot, if the ANC’s birthday statement and ensuing television interviews with the governing party’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, are anything to go by. Here is a man who speaks the language of economic growth and investment, understands the trade-offs involved and can convey these in an articulate and thoughtful manner. Of course, he will be constrained in his ability to implement new approaches to economic policy by the divisions in the party and within his top six team. But his party colleagues would have had to have signed up to the birthday statement, which had a tone and economic emphasis quite different from those of the recent past. "Our vision is an economy that encourages and welcomes investment, offers policy certainty and addresses barriers that inhibit growth...

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