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New research has found that it is ?more effective and efficient? to hand out cash rather than services or goods to the poor. In fact, more governments are granting cash handouts unconditionally or conditionally e.g. use for school fees. Contrary to perceptions that cash would be squandered, a Stanford University research paper found that the opposite is true.

In an article to be published in the Public Management Review (March 2017) and available in PDF online, Bert George, Sebastian Desmith, Eva Cools and Anita Prinzie write the following: ?One of the strongest prejudices towards strategic planning is that it solely relies on analysis and limits any creativity/intuition?. It is not "strategic thinking". Their research found that this prejudice is simply incorrect.

We have arrived at a point in history where demographic slowdown, financial market and economic instability, and optimization driven management practices are fanning the flames of rivalry across industry. The lifecycle of product platforms is being cut short, innovation processes are being disrupted, and traditional buyer-supplier relationships are being compromised. The result is an environment of ?dog-eat-dog? competition.

In a note to clients, a team led by Goldman Sachs? Chief Credit Strategist Charles Himmelberg released its top ten market themes for 2017. Here's a brief summary of?each of the ten themes Goldman sees as forming the backdrop for investing in 2017.

Extraordinary Professor Peet Strydom annually hosts a one-day conference and 7 May 2015 saw the 17th Ruiterbosch event held near Mosselbay in the Western Cape (South Africa).

This year the topics of discussion included:

  • Global value chains and the implications that they hold for exports and investment,
  • Piketty’s analysis of inequality – Prof Peet presented a paper with his own modified model and the implications for South Africa,
  • Foreign direct investment in Africa, specifically by SA firms, and
  • The rise and fall of Eskom.

The aim of the conference is to bring together academics, practitioners and policymakers for an off-the-record and no-holds-barred discussion of the issues facing the South African economy.


Amid the economic turmoil that affected advanced economies in recent years, the sub-Saharan African region provided something of a silver lining in an otherwise broadly felt economic downturn. As growth is now modestly returning in advanced economies, sub-Saharan economies carry on registering impressive growth rates of close to 5 percent in 2013—with rising projections for the next two years—below only emerging and developing Asia.

However, important downside risks remain and much remains to be done to lay the foundations for sustainable long-term growth, requiring efforts across many areas:

Many of us have faced an unexpected very large data bill from our network provider. Despite the costs however, people continue using their mobile devices to download data with music among the most popular activities. Nielsen's Mobile Performance Panel in August 2016 revealed some interesting insights among others:

For 60 years, McDonald?s dictated how customers ordered and got food. That?s changing now?it is a totally different mind-set. ?Competition and the rise of fast-casual chains have elevated expectations. Customers also increasingly demanding and McDonald?s is looking to technology to help make restaurants more convenient. The new approach may bring in the kind of customers who do not like queuing.

South Africa's burgeoning connected commerce era means that consumers are no longer shopping entirely online or offline but rather taking a blended approach, using whatever channel best suits their needs. This is a key finding of the Nielsen Future of Grocery Report based on a survey that polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries to understand how digital technology will shape the retail landscape of the future. 

Key highlights of the 2015 Africa 2015 Wealth Report are the following:

  • There were approximately 161,000 HNWIs living in Africa at the end of 2014, with combined wealth holdings of US$660 billion.
  • African HNWI numbers have increased by 145% during the past 14 years (2000-2014) compared to the worldwide HNWI growth rate of 73% during the same period.
  • HNWI numbers in Africa expected to rise by 45% over the next 10 years, reaching approximately 234,000 by 2024.
  • South Africa is home to the most HNWIs on the continent. Despite recent turmoil, Egypt ranks second on the list.
  • Mozambique is expected to be the fastest growing African market for HNWIs over the next 10 years, followed by the Ivory Coast and then Zambia.

Up one position, China ranks 28th (up 14 places from 2007) on the 2015 in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2014-2015 and continues to lead the BRICS economies by a wide margin—well ahead of Russia (53rd), South Africa (56th), Brazil (57th), and India (71st). Dropping for the sixth consecutive edition, India is down 11 on 2014 out of 144 economies and is the lowest ranked among the BRICS economies. India’s slide in the competitiveness rankings began in 2009, when its economy was still growing at 8.5 percent (it even grew by 10.3 percent in 2010). South Africa has also performed worse than the previous year’s ranking.