Tag: South Africa

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan reckons South Africa’s economy will grow 0,9% this year; the World Bank plumps for 0,8% and the IMF forecasts just 0,7%. Woeful by global standards. And seriously dangerous for a country whose population, half of whom are under 25, is growing at 1,4% a year.

Warren Buffett wrote about the relationship between economic and population growth rates in this year’s letter to shareholders. The number of Americans is rising at 0,8% a year – 0,5% from births minus deaths; the other 0,3% from net migration. So although the US economy is expanding at a seemingly modest 2% a year, it’s actually a net positive of 1,2% annually for each person who lives there.

Doesn’t sound like much, but as Buffett explains “in a single generation of, say, 25 years, that rate of growth leads to a gain of 34,4% in real GDP producing a staggering $19 000 increase in real GDP per capita for the next generation. Were that to be distributed equally the gain would be $76 000 annually for a family of four”.

A lovely example of the power of compounding when economic growth is on the right side of population expansion. But inverting the two, as is happening in SA, delivers a warning worth heeding.

Failing to grow the economy fast enough to give youngsters the hope they deserve, is unsustainable. Even for the political party that brought liberation.

By Alec Hogg for www.fin24.co.za

E-commerce spending by South Africans via their mobile devices is set to grow by 70% in 2016, says a survey.

According to research organisation Ipsos, this figure is set to outpace overall e-commerce spend in SA which is forecast to grow by 29% this year.

E-commerce spending via mobiles accounted for 25% or R7-billion of all online transactions in 2015, says Efi Dahan, the Africa and Israel regional director for PayPal. Payment service PayPal commissioned the Ipsos survey.

The survey further reported that South African shoppers spent R28,8-billion online in 2015, which is expected to grow to R46-billion by 2017, of which mobile will account for R19-billion.

“There is no doubt that the rapid penetration of smartphones in South Africa will continue to be the driving force of online shopping in the upcoming years,” says Dahan.

Most South African online shoppers (59%) buy locally, with 37% buying both local and cross border and 5% buying exclusively from international providers.

The most popular online shopping destinations for locals are the US, UK and China, but Dahan warned that security was a challenge.

“I believe that the smartphone shopping experience will continue to evolve as consumers feel greater comfort and security.”

Security firm Trend Micro recently reported that hacked PayPal accounts with a guaranteed balance of $500 (R7 941.54) were traded for $6.43 (R102.51) on the Deep Web.

And Check Point reported that giant e-commerce platform eBay had failed to fix a security flaw dubbed “JSF**k” that allows cyber-crooks to use the platform as a phishing and malware distribution platform.

Dahan says that the online space made geographical borders irrelevant.

“Though international shopping is still less popular locally, with the growing variety of products, larger range of prices, improved shipping options and increasing confidence in e-commerce, we believe that South African consumers will continue to purchase online, regardless of physical borders.”

PayPal is the most popular online payment method for South Africans who shop internationally at 68%, followed by Visa Credit card at 37%, the survey showed.

By Duncan Alfreds for Fin24

South Africa has been ranked as the cheapest country in the world to live and retire in, according to a 2016 report which compares dollar strength to a number of global currencies.

GoBankingRates generated the rankings based on cost of living indices sourced from online pricing database Numbeo: Cost of Living.

This study surveyed cost indicators for major cities in the 112 nations for which Numbeo had recent and accurate data, using the median cost indicators of the cities to generate a typical cost index for the country. accurate data, using the median cost indicators of the cities to generate a typical cost index for the country.

Four key affordability metrics

  • Local purchasing power index – measures the relative purchasing power of a typical salary in that country, compared to New York City. A lower purchasing power buys fewer goods, while a higher purchasing power buys more
  • Rent index – compares typical rental prices in the country to New York City
  • Groceries index – compares typical grocery prices in the country to New York City
  • Consumer price index – compares costs of local goods and services, including restaurants, groceries, transportation and utilities

When South Africa’s prices and cost of living is compared to those in New York, the study found:

  • Local purchasing power is 26,9% higher;
  • Rent is 87,5% cheaper;
  • Groceries are 71% cheaper; and
  • Local goods and services are 65,8% cheaper.

“South Africa is the cheapest country to live or retire,” says GoBankingRates.
“It’s also the world’s largest producer of platinum, gold and chromium, which goes far to enrich the country and its economy.

“This resulted in a local purchasing power that’s significantly higher than what New Yorkers face, which is the most favorable factor that puts South Africa at No1.

Along with a higher local purchasing power, South Africa also offers lower prices on consumer goods and groceries, and rent costs that are typical of the 50 cheapest countries.

In the major city of Cape Town, GoBankingRates found that monthly expenses total just under R6 200 (from $400 at R15.31/$1) while the average rent costs, for a one-bedroom in Durban for example, are around R4 200 (from $280) a month, the report said.

The second cheapest country, India has a local purchasing power of 20,9% lower than New York, while rent is 95,2% cheaper, groceries are 74,4% cheaper, and local goods and services are 74,9% cheaper.

The most expensive country, on the other hand, is Bermuda.

Top 10 cheapest countries to live and retire are:

  1. South Africa
  2. India
  3. Kosovo
  4. Saudi Arabia
  5. Kazakhstan
  6. Zambia
  7. Oman
  8. Paraguay
  9. Czech Republic
  10. Macedonia

By Louzel Lombard for www.traveller24.news24.com

The World Bank has become the latest to downgrade SA’s economic growth forecasts for this year and next, warning that the slowdown in growth coupled with the drought would drive thousands more people into poverty.

The bank sees SA’s economy growing 0,8% this year from an earlier forecast of 1,4%. The forecast for next year was revised downwards to 1,1% from 1,6%. The Bank released its South African economic update on Tuesday.

It said that while it did not forecast a recession for SA, the extremely low levels of economic growth would lead to further declines in per capita incomes.

The “dramatic deterioration” in the economic growth outlook over the past few months reflected a sharper economic slowdown in China, lower commodity prices, domestic policy uncertainty and the drought, World Bank lead economist for SA Catriona Purfield said.

The drought could have shaved off 0,2 percentage points from gross domestic product last year and pushed an estimated 50 000 people into poverty, the bank said.

With monetary and fiscal policy already “constrained, the onus is on other reforms to lift the long-term growth trajectory” of SA, Purfield says.

One of these reforms was highlighted as improving competition policy to reduce input costs. Competition could also be supported through better regulation, the bank says.

The bank estimates that SA will need to grow at more than 7% on average from 2018 if it is to significantly reduce poverty and double incomes.

By Ntsakisi Maswanganyi for www.bdlive.co.za

With our personal lives busier than ever, offering flexible work options to your employees could be the best way to keep the good ones around.

It all started in the US in the 1990s: five days a week, from nine to five, 48 to 50 weeks per year had been the typical work schedule for most working people. But by the 1990s, employees were finding that the traditional work week was not optimal. Why?

Some were trying to adapt to the combined needs of a demanding professional life and a busy personal life. They required a more novel approach to the work week and requested a special, more flexible work schedule.

Their reasons for wanting this “flexitime” were many and varied, and focused on personal requirements and family care. The trend soon caught on in the rest of the world, including South Africa.

Some employees want time to attend or teach classes; many need to adjust their schedules to avoid time-consuming traffic jams. And for others, working a non-traditional part-time schedule is a lifestyle choice.

But as an employer, why would you consider offering flexitime? After all, it’s “different”, and if you run a traditional business, to see employees arriving and leaving at various times of the day can be upsetting.

It can also be problematic to co-ordinate people, tasks and productivity when your employees aren’t at work at the same time. So why should employers consider creating flexible schedules?

The main reason is to retain key, dedicated employees whose personal needs conflict with traditional work hours. If you can offer flexitime, you’ll gain increased productivity and worker satisfaction, along with decreased absenteeism and turnover – all great money-savers for your company! And employees who are permitted a work-life time adjustment tend to work harder to hold on to their now-perfect schedules.

Find me the money

What alternatives are there to the traditional work day? One of the oldest is job sharing. In this case, two workers usually each work half time, comprising one full-time equivalent (FTE) employee. For this type of plan, tasks, roles and responsibilities need to be closely co-ordinated to ensure optimal productivity.

A second plan allows for employees to work different hours, which usually involves them coming in to work either earlier or later than most of their counterparts.

Another option allows employees to alternate between a four-day and then a five-day week, thus permitting a traditional two-day weekend, followed by an extended three-day weekend. Or, if your business allows it, employees can work 10 days straight and then enjoy four consecutive days off. The possibilities here are only limited by what works for your business.

In companies with peak periods, such as accounting firms or tourist businesses, employees can work much more than 40 hours each week during the busy season(s), and then enjoy shorter weeks in the less busy season(s). Closely related to this seasonal plan is “comp time”; this refers to employees working more hours than usual each week and leaving early some days or taking a day off.

In many companies, some employees’ job responsibilities are primarily project oriented – as soon as one job is completed, the employee can simply go on to the next task. With this type of job, one option is for the employee to be paid on a project basis.

And the employee can take time off between projects if they finish sooner than planned. In this instance, the employee functions much like an external consultant.

Telecommuting is another option. With PDAs, computers, the Internet and cellphones, employees no longer have to be “under the same roof” to accomplish their jobs. Employees can work at home all or part time. This is especially helpful if their work environment is small, crowded or noisy, and they need quiet time to get the job done.

Success tips

These tips will help ensure maximum flexitime output:

  1. Your goals for any employee working flexitime need to be clear
    They must be both specific and action-oriented so they can be measured at the end of the work period. And both of you need to agree on the actual scope of work. And it’s critical, especially when it comes to telecommuting, that the mode of transmitting the end-result be unambiguous.
    For example, do you want work details or the end product to be communicated by phone, Internet or in person? Are rough drafts and a phone call sufficient or do you need a polished report?
  2. An employee’s exact role in the company needs to be clearly defined
    Each person – manager and employee – must know the expectations and responsibilities of self and others. Each person must also know exactly who does what and with whom, and who is responsible to whom. This is especially true when you have employees working outside the office and communicating only via phone or e-mail. When role clarity isn’t ensured, confusion, blame, dissension, antagonism and a lack of productivity often result.
  3. Determine the frequency and mode of communication you require before your employees begin working flexitime
    Employers vary on the amount of control and contact they want or demand from their employees. Some bosses want a written summary of a week’s efforts first thing Monday morning; others are satisfied with a phone call. Still others believe that a face-to-face meeting is essential. Determine what you need to feel comfortable with the work your employees are doing.
  4. Establish some regular working hours for your telecommuting employees
    It seems the less often an employee is present in the office, the more people need to get in touch with that person. The telecommuter needs to outline a usual time that he or she will be available by phone or e-mail and also set a regular time for coming into the office.
    Many employers with flexitime employees have discovered the concept of “core hours”. This is the time all employees must be physically present at the business location for a set amount of time on a specific day. Knowing, for example, that all employees will be available for a meeting every Tuesday from noon to 2pm can go a long way to decreasing the anxiety of flexitime

Making flexitime work:

  • Set precise, action-oriented, measurable work goals
  • Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of manager and employees
  • Determine the mode and frequency of communication upfront
  • Outline “core hours” with telecommuniting employees, thus ensuring common times enabling communication between all employee

By www.entrepreneurmag.co.za

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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