The South African economy is going through trying times at present. The difficulties are well known and documented and have been attributed to multiple factors: The biggest contraction in global trade since the financial crisis especially with major BRIC trading partners with Brazil and Russia currently on below investment grade by major rating agencies. The slowdown in the Chinese economy, subdued knock-on effect from the drop in commodity prices and structural problems within the local economy are some of the contributing factors.
The country’s economy has been slowing down since 2008, but the downgrades by Standard & Poor's and Fitch towards the end of last year to one notch above sub-investment grade signaled a loud and clear call for leaders in government, labor, civil society and business to work a lot harder to find a common ground to prevent the country from being downgraded to below investment grade this year.
This is arguably one of the toughest periods the country has been through economically since the dawn of democracy. It came as no surprise to see macro developments as well as changes in legislation and regulation ranking high in the Allianz Risk Barometer 2016
. This clearly indicates that businesses are concerned about the impact of unpredictability, uncertainty and lack of a clear economic policy direction.