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Real Economy Yearbook 2019

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It has been a difficult time to be a South African over the past few years and doubly so if you happen to be a South African businessperson. ​​​​​​​ Social cohesion has weakened, government has underperformed across all three spheres, unemployment and poverty remain at extreme levels, crime and violence are constant threats, the nation’s finances have become increasingly fragile, business confidence has all but flatlined and load-shedding has remained a real and present danger. What has worried business people the most, however, has been the poor performance of the economy, which, at best, has put a squeeze on profits and, at worst, resulted in confidence sapping business failures. This weakness was epitomised by South Africa’s alarming 3.2% economic contraction in the first quarter of this year and is also reflected in this year’s edition of the Real Economy Yearbook. Nevertheless, there are a few weak signals that reforms are under way, which, if strengthened, could improve the outlook materially and lift the mood.

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