Against the background of a global market rout of emerging market currencies, SA has just sold bonds worth $2bn. This was a bittersweet development. The $2bn issuance follows a capital-raising exercise through fixed-income securities totalling $2.5bn in September 2017 by the Treasury.
While the objective of these issuances is prudent, financing of foreign currency commitments is increasing public debt. Unfortunately, this is consistent with most sub-Saharan African countries, some of which are now in dire straits in the form of ratings downgrades, currency weakness and poor growth prospects.
On the positive side, the yield was noticeably benign at 5.875% for the 12-year bond ($1.4bn) and 6.3% for the 30-year bond ($600m). SA continues to attract goodwill and investment confidence in capital markets. This is probably an omen that rating migration to the investment grade is not far off.
For those of us in the wealth-management and financial-advisory business, we are gratified that emerging black advisory firms – RHO Capital, Pamoja Capital, Basis Points Capital and Africa Rising Capital — were among the financial service firms that received a mandate from the Treasury. This illustrates one crucial ingredient in the ideal framework for developing indigenous financial service firms, namely the deliberate empowerment of emerging black talent.
Going forward, the private sector would do well to enthusiastically take a leaf from the Treasury’s book and give mandates to emerging black firms, thereby promoting talent and opportunities for everyone in the financial services economy.
Instead of focusing on the debilitating race-driven fight for the redistribution of existing wealth, we can work together to create and distribute new wealth. The Treasury mostly pays invoices within three working days — other public entities and corporate SA should endeavour to do the same.
Dr Rabelani Dagada