As always in January, the World Bank has updated its global and regional growth forecasts, and in SA’s case, it has raised its projection for 2018 by 0.2 percentage points to 1.1% for the year, up from an expected 0.8% in 2017. It could have been worse, but it’s hardly good in a country in which the population is growing by 1.7% — and a world in which global economic growth is forecast at 3.2% in 2018. The bank sees SA’s growth reaching the 1.7% level only in 2018 and 2019. That would halt the steady slide in average living standards in SA over the past few years but isn’t nearly enough to reverse it. The bank’s numbers would have been done before the ANC’s elective conference in December but they are, nonetheless, a sobering reminder that SA’s economic challenges are as great, if not even greater, now than they had been before Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC victory. The fiscal challenges are the most immediate. The tabling of the budget is hardly more than a month away, and the funding gap ...

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