Browsing: Sovereign Debt Crisis

South Africa economic outlook 2022

In terms of the fiscus, South Africa expects to run a deficit of -4.1 per cent in 2023, however, the deficit is expected to narrow for the next 3 years closing 2026 at -3.6 per cent. This demonstrates significant fiscal consolidation.

Over the next 3 years the South African government expects to consolidate its public finances and reduce its deficit by inter alia increasing revenues and or managing or containing costs. According to Investec, “The current fiscal year (2022/23) has seen a substantial boost to nominal (actual) GDP due to high inflation, which has eased both the fiscal debt and deficit projections as a per cent of GDP, although does not boost real GDP, which is the measure of the country’s growth and has the distorting effect of inflation removed.”

Among countries in Africa, South Africa is getting its public financial act together. The country is paying down its debts, inflation has been showing a strong downward trajectory. What remains to be seen is whether this decreasing inflation rate will continue.

To have only 3 of the eligible countries in Africa signing up for the initiative is tragic especially given the global economic environment of the world presently. A crippling sovereign crisis is looming on the African horizon. Catalysts of the crisis include a strong United States dollar which has been resurgent during the year.

Debt on the on the books of most African countries is denominated in the greenback and its strength will have an adverse impact on their public finances and their ability to service their loan obligations timeously.

This problem is further compounded by rising interest rates which are certain to make the cost of debt that much more expensive for countries that already cannot afford to be overextended financially.

The debt of most African countries is in the hands of private creditors who in recent time have become as important as their multilateral counterparts. These private creditors are less likely to be concessionary in terms of discussions around restructuring of debts.

Mozambique, until the Covid pandemic happened, was just 7 years shy of matching or exceeding the record set by South Korea.

The pandemic undermined the southern African country’s economic progress by slowing down critical sectors of economic activity namely tourism, construction, transport, as well as a general decline in the demand for commodity exports. The economy of Mozambique was further undermined by the conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Statistics on how many people have been displaced by the conflict vary but they range from 250,000 to 1 million people. At least 850,000 people are estimated to have been dragged below the international poverty line because of the conflict.

South Korean industry began with the production of textiles and footwear and then moved into heavy industries like steel, heavy equipment, ships, petrochemicals, electronics, and automobiles by the 1980s.

Africa needs to follow the economic lead of countries like South Korea that developed into advanced states through export-led economic growth and the development of strong domestic economies. South Korea committed to rapid industrialization. This is what caused the economy to take off. However, it is important to note that economic development was also set in motion by leaders who implemented land reform and educational development.

Oxford Research notes, “Industrialization was characterized by a close pattern of cooperation between the state and large family-owned conglomerates known as chaebǒls. This close relationship continued after the transition to democracy in the late 1980s and 1990s but after 1987, labour emerged as a major political force, and rising wages gave further impetus to the development of the more capital-intensive industry.”