FOREWORD

Economic prospects

Vusi Khumalo, President of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry
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It is the beginning of a new year and this means new opportunities for business to thrive and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) is looking forward to be part of the engine that drives the agenda for South African businesses.

Our economy has unfortunately been on a down turn with the 3rd quarter report from Statistics South Africa showing a decline of the expected economic growth to 1.3%. There has been a general slow-down in the emerging markets internationally. What makes the South African situation more challenging is the declining value of the rand against the US dollar (US$).

The economic prospects for 2016 seem bleak due to the difficulties South Africa faces. However, there are other great opportunities for growth and for venturing into new business. The businesses that are exporting their products using the US dollar should be thriving at this point, especially those whose production/manufacturing processes do not have dollar denominated costs.

SACCI has already identified these opportunities and has begun a process of finding new markets for South African businesses to trade with, especially those on the African continent. SACCI has to date signed two memoranda of understanding (MOUs) agreements with the Kenyan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as with the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In these MOUs SACCI has committed to work together with the chambers for trade and investment promotion. SACCI intends to sign more MOUs with other big African countries within the first half of 2016.

During the past year, under leadership of myself, Tinus Havinga (SACCI Deputy President) and Alan Mukoki (SACCI's new CEO), SACCI strengthened its existing relationships with its European partners. We also visited the World Chambers Federation annual conference in Torino, Italy. This provided an opportunity to interact with chambers from around the world and work on strategies that will strengthen the chamber movement.

In the last quarter of 2015 Alan and myself visited Trias (in Brussels, Belgium), a Flemish development NGO that has been running an SMME development programme in South Africa under the umbrella of Partnerships for Empowerment Entrepreneurs Representation (PEERS). The PEERS programme was launched in 2012 to run until 2015 and the second instalment was confirmed for 2016-2018 (while the SACCI leadership was in Brussels). We further honoured an invitation to attend the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta in November 2015.

SACCI has many plans for 2016 and under our new CEO's strategic leadership we will be steering the ship in the desired direction with the support of the newly elected SACCI Board. The CEO will focus on strengthening the operational and administrative functions of the organisation with a focus on the objectives of policy and advocacy, membership retention and attraction as well as communication with the support of his dynamic team.

SACCI will continue to build its relationship with the South African Government by entering into agreements, such as the MOU that was entered into with the Department of Trade and Industry in 2015. SACCI recognises that its objectives and that of the government are similar as the end goal is to grow the economy, which will in-turn reduce the staggering unemployment rate. We therefore have to work together closely and the CEO will be ensuring that this is executed well.

SACCI will work harder to meet the challenges that lie ahead for the South African economy in 2016. The management of SACCI is committed to providing un-paralleled services to its members, the business community and economic growth.

We would like to wish all our members, the SACCI Board and the broader business community all the best for the 2016.

Vusi Khumalo 

 

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