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Happy Holidays
Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

Unless we do things differently, this will be the last Christmas for many, many South Africans.” These words by the South African President sent chills down many spines as President Ramaphosa urged citizens to protect themselves as this festive season kicks off. This year’s December holiday period is sure to be a somewhat gloomy one as the country enters the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. The number of new cases and the number of deaths continue to climb, and the government has urged all South Africans to keep their celebration family and friend bubbles small, and to wear a mask whenever leaving home.

Reflecting on the unprecedented year that was, businesses large and small have been affected in 2020. Here at Tutwa Consulting Group, we have applied ourselves in offering analytical, cutting edge policy insights to our various stakeholders. Covid-19 disrupted business operations as international borders were closed as a measure to manage the pandemic. This exposed the need for African economies to strive for a deeper level of integration regarding trade. It is precisely for this reason that the African Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has become so crucial for African markets.

The AfCFTA will create opportunities for women in trade; amongst others, by creating opportunities for women and lowering the gender wage gap. With Africa’s youthful population, the AfCFTA is poised to focus on protocols from Phase II negotiations including Investment, Intellectual Property and Digital trade, and E-commerce. Trade under this mega-agreement is to start in January 2021, and it is anticipated that outstanding issues such as Rules of Origin will be ironed out – currently, over 80% of tariff lines have already been concluded.

Tutwa’s commitment to work on regional integration is ongoing and we are currently unpacking how the industrialisation agenda for the SADC region will unfold in the changing global economy.

Industrialisation refers to moving SADC economies from their largely factor-driven stage to a more efficient, high development stage. This means transitioning SADC from a commodity-dependent path towards a value-adding and knowledge-intensive path. We have a team whose work can assist institutions to develop processes and systems for effective policy alignment and policy implementation. Industrialization is crucial to building resilience as a continent particularly looking at how we best can respond to the pandemic.

Agriculture has remained resilient and we hope to witness African governments invest more into the sector as it is central to the economic recovery.

Another pillar of the economy that was affected by Covid-19 was SMMEs. We firmly assert that small businesses are the backbone of the economy and our team has worked closely with the government, particularly the Department of Small Business Development (through the EU-funded Ecosystem for Development of Small Enterprises) at finding ways on how best to support SMMEs particularly around issues of subcontracting, the ease of doing business, accessing Covid-19 grants and lastly, assisting with qualitative insights regarding informal traders (such as waste pickers).

Our global trade knowledge assists organizations and institutions to understand how they may be affected by global trade issues. No country or business is an island, and we have seen this with how COVID-19 has had a ripple detrimental effect on the economies around the globe. Our team has kept a close eye on the developments regarding Brexit and have drawn up various economic scenarios and outcomes that could play out should there be no deal reached.

Indeed, globally – we are in a battle for our lives. While it would be beneficial to plan for 2021 and the post-Covid-19 world, the reality is that the virus will be here for some time. The South African government has entered the necessary processes to be part of the vaccination prospects, but citizens have a duty to adhere to all Covid-19 restrictions and regulations in order for us to come back safely after these holidays. From a government perspective, we look forward to more transparent communication and initiatives to put corruption behind us, in order to increase society’s trust in the government and its capacity to rebuild the economy.

We are pleased to be operating in the digital/technology space – sharing insights for international companies on changes and updates on the South African economic policy.

We are excited that Our Tutwa family is growing with David Bridgman joining our team. You can view his profile here. We at TCG, wish this holiday season to be filled with hope. We wish you and yours a joyful and peaceful break and most importantly, the safest of holidays!