Tim Cohen Senior editor: Business Day

At the start of the year, economists, the Reserve Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were all predicting economic growth in SA of above 2%. In fact, growth is likely to come in below 1%, and SA surprisingly slipped into (and out of) recession during the year. Expectations were partly driven by the idea that SA has been lagging emerging-market economies in general, hence SA is bound to “catch up”. They were also driven by “Ramaphoria”, the idea that SA is returning to a political framework that loosely coincides with modernity. Not for the first time, SA’s economists and political analysts laboured under the false notion that a reformed ANC under new leadership will naturally create a successful economy. The miss underlined one of my pet topics of the year: a growing sense that SA’s economic watchers, both in government and outside of it, just have no idea how the actual economy works, and consequently keep pushing the wrong levers and keep being surprised when the result...

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