South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation due to its citizens’ willingness to welcome anyone to find their next home there. Foreign investment in the premium property market has stalled with the pandemic, political uncertainties and economic struggles. Even so, the country’s natural beauty and bounteous assets beckon to property buyers.
Sixty years ago, China committed to leapfrogging its economy in a comprehensive reform initiative, the Great Leap Forward. Today, the country is bearing the fruits of those measures as it vies with the US for its title of the world’s most relevant country. In the midst of its Second Great Leap Forward, will China grab the coveted prize?
For the world’s economy, 2021 hasn’t yet brought a break from 2020; COVID-19 remains dominant. Although all banking systems are vulnerable to upheaval, the situations for those in emerging markets are more tenuous for several reasons. S&P Global Ratings examined the three major risks facing a sample of 15 EM countries, including likely deterioration in asset quality, geopolitical and domestic policy uncertainty and vulnerability to abrupt changes in investor sentiment.
The Digital Imperative for Banking in the New Normal By Ciko Thomas, Group Managing Executive, Retail & Business Banking (RBB)
Nedbank is ingeniously employing existing and new digital solutions to meet the needs of customers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Unemployment continues to plague some major economies, but one holds the questionable distinction of having the highest unemployment rate of all, and that country is South Africa. At 29.1 percent, South Africa’s colossal unemployment rate is regarded as the top concern by many of the nation’s citizens and government officials. Joblessness is particularly devastating for youth, women and blacks, but what steps must the government take to improve the situation?
A persistent problem in Africa is the financial-inclusion deficit. With 11 million citizens in South Africa alone being either underbanked or unbanked, the need to gather them into the banking fold is urgent. Recognizing this imperative, innovative teams such as Nedbank’s Retail and Business Banking have prioritised customer-centric digital avenues to reach more customers, entrenching themselves as the money experts who do good and give clients back the gift of time.
In any economy, banks play the critical role of re-allocating capital, from surplus areas into deficit areas. It is a role that sees them take deposits from the public and use the same to issue loans to businesses, both large and small. But that process hasn’t been happening much in Sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, banks, motivated by risk-aversion, have been funneling liquidity into the coffers of governments through government-issued debt securities. SSA banks must get back to the business of lending to the private sector if they are to escalate shareholder returns.
Interview with Mr. Ciko Thomas, Group Managing Executive, Retail & Business Banking; Mr. Mike Brown, Group Chief Executive; and Mr. Mfundo Nkuhlu, Chief Operating Officer of Nedbank
Nedbank is among South Africa’s top four banks, offering a range of wholesale and retail banking services to an equally varied clientele. In our interview, three of its top executives, Ciko Thomas, Mike Brown and Mfundo Nkuhlu, discuss a bank that aims to use its financial expertise “to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society”.
Simon Hughes of International Banker interviews Mr. Mike Brown, Group Chief Executive Officer of Nedbank on the recent political turbulence in South Africa, the challenges facing the bank and Nedbank’s future plans.
Controversy involving a country’s top politicians often trickles down to its vulnerable financial sector; South African banks have joined the list of victims of decisions made by their political leadership that have caused credit ratings to plunge and economic prospects to tumble, posing a challenge to the healthy internal conditions of most banks. Will a bank crisis accompany the political one?