1 July 2014

South Africa: What Economic Future, South Africa?


J. BROOKS SPECTOR attends a seminar that looks ahead to South Africa's economic future twenty years from now - and returns home but chastened and saddened by what he hears about what must be done to convert the fine words of the National Development Plan into reality.

Now that South Africa's economic future is becoming increasingly cloudy and unsettled, the forecasters are having a field day trying to sort out what is coming down the road. But interpreting those road signs up ahead is an enormously frustrating task.

The signs immediately ahead - the ones that will spell out things like NUMSA strike starts, global rating agencies consider further downgrades, or interest rate hike fails to quell investor fears - are still rather easy to read. But look further down the road, and the signs that speak about Eskom's failure to meet consumer demand or how the country continues to shed jobs, become less clear. Still further away, the signs speaking to South Africa's economic circumstances in 2030 more often than not remain so unclear that they read more like they were written in an unknown foreign tongue in an unfamiliar script.

And that's the trouble - predicting the future...

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