Economic resuscitation for South Africa is a term that we can start to familiarise ourselves with in the coming weeks, months and even years.
As the definition states, resuscitation is “the action of making something active or vigorous again.” And in that same definition lies our greatest challenge – making something ACTIVE. Us humans are born to survive and survive we certainly will. The cost of human life is something one can never justify or accept. This epidemic has certainly shown us how vulnerable we all actually are, as a country and as a generation. Soon the importance of economic resuscitation will become ever prevalent in South Africa.
As I write this the Rand has slipped past the R17/$ mark and the brakes have not functioned as of yet; we are in a technical recession and a downgrade from Moody’s (our saving grace for the last who knows how long) is expected by most of the economists in the country. Our country is in lockdown – unknown territory for everyone reading this and the thing that scares us most is not the unknown, but the known.
Some thoughts to consider;
Knowing most SMEs have shut their doors and cut off their income might be the scariest thing we have ever had to do. Stimulus plans have been introduced and the faint light of “Payment Holidays” and “Business Support” is on every news website. And so, I can go on deeper into the dark hole of financial depression we are staring into. However, the papers are full enough of that and I do not wish to plagiarise one of their articles.
What we will need, now more than ever, is strong leadership. This, supported by ethical management, sound corporate governance and a bucket full of determination. And this will not only be needed from politicians and CEO’s but from every entrepreneur, SME and all role-players. And this, not only in the financial sector but in the economy as a whole. Most of us who say that this will not impact us have not smelt the coffee yet. This will have far greater consequences than what we might imagine.
So how can South Africa focus on economic resuscitation?
Jumpstarting the economy will have to be done from the top downwards. It will need to be a continuous process, month after month, year after year. We will have to focus on the areas of unemployment, education, and inequality which will ultimately lead to a decrease in poverty. The right decisions will have to be made and strict implementation thereof will be vital. We need to invest in our economy – not in bailing out drowning SOE’s as has become the norm. We need to increase business confidence – not simply increase tax rates to fill the coffers. Short- and medium-term reforms and policies need to be put in place. This will help ensure the climate in which our entities operate is favorable and growth-enhancing.
All of the above is easier said than done. However, I still firmly believe the opportunities will be there for all of us once we open our doors to the world. It will be tough times and it might still get a bit worse before it gets better. However, the playing field is level for all of us. In the end, our Rand will recover, our Shares will stabilize, and our economy will be a bright green again. Of this I am sure.
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