Census 2011: Finding out the facts and figures

The release of the Census data on the 30th October 2012 is an opportunity to discuss some of the changes (or in some cases lack thereof) in our country over the last decade. It is an excellent tool to gaining real insight into the lives of South Africans nationwide. And what does it say?

There are many more of us (now over 50million), unemployment is unbelievably high, services (water, electricity, sanitation, housing) are increasingly being delivered (although one could argue not fast enough), education has increased but black South Africans are still severely disadvantaged in this area, urbanization has been increasing rapidly, and so on.

The Census reflects some of the major challenges we face – we must learn from it and do better over the next 10 years.

For access to all of the StatsSA documents related to the 2011 Census go to http://www.statssa.gov.za/Census2011/Products.asp  



SA Economic Infrastructure Report 2012

The Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) has just released its report on the state of SA’s economic infrastructure. The report cites the importance of infrastructure in achieving development goals and undergoes a full review of infrastructure in 6 economic sectors (rail, ports, roads, electricity, water and the fibre optic element of telecommunications). For a copy of the report go to: http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=174619

SA Transport Month

As October is transport month in South Africa, it is appropriate to highlight the importance of transport and infrastructure to economic development and improving the quality of people’s lives. For the Transport Minister, Ben Martins’, speech on the importance of an effective transport system for growth in Africa see: http://www.sanews.gov.za/rss/12/12100812551001

Strike Unrest in SA

This end of year period in South Africa, which has been aptly termed by many as ‘strike season’, brings to light some of the stark realties in this country. Whatever one’s political persuasion, the unsustainable labour relations, mass inequality and the vulnerability of the economy are clear. For two articles which deal with some of the strike action and its effects on the Rand and the economy please see:

Mega Trends in Africa

Frost & Sullivan in their latest study on Mega Trends in Africa predict that “by 2020, Africa will account for 15% of the world's urban occupants.” This enormous growth will have many associated challenges while also providing mass opportunities in the development of adequate enabling infrastructure. For more information please see: http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/press-release.pag?docid=267697977


Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) shows us there is no fat in the fiscal system

Modest forecasts and adjustments to the budget with overall numbers remaining constant demonstrate the tight maneuvering being handled by the fiscal authorities. Despite recent downgrades Minister Gordhan remains positive and urges all South Africans to do the same.
For articles summarizing and commenting on the MTBPS see:

Investment and FDI Flows

The latest UN Conference on Trade and Development Global Investment Trends Monitor focuses on FDI flows. It indicates a number of key trends. In the first half of 2012, for example, global FDI fell by 8% to an estimated US$668-billion, down from US$729-billion in first half of 2011. This was due to increased uncertainty in the global economy, marked by fears of an exacerbation of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and a slowdown of growth in major emerging market economies. FDI flows into SA have dropped significantly according to this report.
For the full report go to: http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/webdiaeia2012d20_en.pdf
Vuka SA?! The Economist speaks on failures in SA

 The Economist, in its latest issue, has shone the spotlight on SA and it is a harsh (but necessary) spotlight indeed. Its report and review take us through some of the challenges and some of the successes since 1994. In the main they emphasise that the country is undergoing economic and political failure due to poor leadership. They raise very important and very real questions that many in SA are asking too – the crucial step now is what we are going to do about it.
For the two Economist articles please see: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21564829-it-has-made-progress-becoming-full-democracy-1994-failure-leadership-means AND http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21564846-south-africa-sliding-downhill-while-much-rest-continent-clawing-its-way-up AND for a response from the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) please read: http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2012/10/20/the-economist-right-on-south-africa-sliding-downhill-sairr
A closer look at the 2012/2013 Global Competitiveness Report – SA compared to our African competitors
This article asks key questions regarding SA’s position on this global ranking compared to other emerging economic such as Nigeria and Rwanda. As investors globally have more interest in Africa it asks and answers whether we are in fact losing our footing as the ‘gateway to Africa’ and unfortunately according to this analysis we are. However, we can easily gain it again through strong and strategies leadership in the key areas of health, education, labour and government capacity. For the full article, please see: http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/newsletter_archive/sas_global_competitiveness_in_africa_is_our_lunch_being_eaten_.html