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  3. South Africa: coalition government won’t fix past failures – expect the private sector to play a bigger role in delivering power, transport and security To help save the planet, governments across the globe are choosing to adopt sustainable policies and encourage (or coerce) the private sector to do likewise. Given the climate crisis, most responsible governments are focusing on finding every possible means to meet existing needs without sacrificing the planet to meet the needs of future generations. In South Africa things are different. Although the country has presented guidelines for a just transition to greener energies, this has not been out of choice. It’s been out of necessity. It is mainly due to the collapse of the country’s energy infrastructure, not government leadership or a change of mind among the coal lobby. State-owned enterprises, specifically in electricity, rail and ports, are a legacy of the apartheid state and South Africa’s “post-apartheid” settlement. Being state-owned isn’t a problem, so long as an enterprise is run well. But in South Africa the government has failed to run them well. And failure in these areas has resulted in a turn to the private sector – either to help fix electricity, rail and the ports or to fill the vacuum in other ways. Even where government has adopted sustainable policies, the private sector has become the major driver of this shift, further worsening inequality. The problem with greater private sector involvement is the sector’s profit motive. Not only are private sector driven solutions only for those who can pay, they also end up driving public priorities. Thus, those who can pay also drive “development”, instead of government deciding in the interests of society as a whole (now and in the future). This is the reverse of how things should be. This process of inadvertent privatisation takes the power to make development decisions out of the hands of the people’s representatives (government) and puts it in the hands of private companies. They are driven not by broader societal (even global) interests, but by profit and the interests of shareholders. This undermines democracy and disempowers citizens. In addition, infrastructure failures have led to “degrowth” in South Africa. Degrowth is the idea that, in order to save our planet, economies must slow or even stop their growth, at least as measured in terms of GDP. Development will continue to stagnate even after the historic 2024 elections. Read further: https://theconversation.com/south-africa-coalition-government-wont-fix-past-failures-expect-the-private-sector-to-play-a-bigger-role-in-delivering-power-transport-and-security-230812
  4. Access to electricity – measured by the share of individuals who use electricity as their main energy source – has significantly improved in lower-income countries in recent decades. Thanks to large-scale rural electrification and infrastructure development programmes, 90% of the population in these countries had access by 2021, up from about 74% at the turn of the century. In many of these countries, however, electricity supply is often unreliable. Generating capacity is inadequate, there’s not enough investment in infrastructure, and energy prices are high. Consequently, outages are frequent and long-lasting. By forcing households and firms to use alternatives, such as diesel generators and back-up batteries, these outages raise the costs of energy, thus limiting the benefits of access. Those costs come in the form of direct expenses for households and firms and broader social impacts. Power outages have long been identified as a major constraint to economic development. Many studies document their negative effects on economic growth, firm productivity and sales. It is unsurprising then that people are willing to pay a relatively large amount for reliable power. Because of those negative effects, it’s likely that outages have an impact on the labour market too. This is of particular interest in high-unemployment contexts, like South Africa, where creating decent jobs is key to alleviating poverty. However, evidence on these effects is scarce. Read the full story on The Conversation
  5. To turn around Pick n Pay and restore profitability, the group will shut 35 stores and convert another roughly 70 to the mass-market Boxer brand (in areas where this makes sense) or to PnP franchise operators. In total, more than 100 stores will be converted or closed. This is a sizeable chunk of its current footprint – it only has 300 company-owned PnP supermarkets in South Africa. The closures amount to approximately 10% of its owned store base. Read the full story here: https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/companies-and-deals/pick-n-pay-will-shut-one-in-10-corporate-supermarkets/
  6. Guest

    Investment advice required

    Hi All, Some advice on current investment portfolio would be much appreciated. Am I on the right track, should I make any adjustments. Fully understand that it is not professional advice. Battling to find good independent advice. Always linked to a product or to scared to give outright advice. Key investment goal is to retire comfortably in 25 years time and get decent long - term growth. Current portfolio: Equities - ETFs (Top 40 (R1m), MSCI World (R250k), S&P500 (R50k), Nasdaq 100 (R200k)) Property - 3x properties (paid off in full and currently renting) (Prop 1 (R4.2m), Prop 2 (R1.2m), Prop 3 (R1.0m) - Decent rental yields, all above 10%. Retirement fund through company (R3m) Smaller emergency funds here and there but nothing to write home about When I look at it I do believe I am over exposed to SA market and property. Advice would be appreciated. Thanks a million.
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