I’d rather not comment on SA; haven’t been there lately – Richard Quest, CNN
I came here with very low expectations… disgruntled and cynical… But having now been here, I’ve changed my mind… It’s been excellent… One of the best Davos’s I’ve ever been at…Richard Quest, CNN
“It’s tough to represent South Africa,” said The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield in Davos, Switzerland earlier this week at the start of the 2022 World Economic Forum (WEF).
“Nevertheless,” said Whitfield, “there are good stories to tell, such as Standard and Poor’s giving us a tiny upgrade.
“We are still deep in sub-investment grade, but the data is showing South Africa moving in the right direction.”
In a post-pandemic world, gripped by a conflict between great powers; the world is just not as interested in South Africa as we have become used to.
This year, the country has 35 delegates, far fewer than in some previous years when there were more than 100.
Whitfield's followers may remember his disastrous interview with CNN’s Richard Quest two years ago at the WEF.
It started off innocuously, but then Quest started ripping into what remains Africa’s most developed country.
“Brand South Africa has tried to put scarves around my neck,” Quest told Whitfield.
“You tell me how anybody who has come here for the past five or ten years saying, ‘South Africa is going really well’, suddenly turns around and says, ‘Well, actually, the entire economy was hijacked, and we’re not even sure we’ve dealt with it’.
“How many people have gone to prison so far?” he asked rhetorically.
“South Africa’s government has minuscule credibility following the Zuma years and the capture of state-owned enterprises.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa cannot turn around and say, ‘I saw nothing and heard nothing!’”
It’s two years later, with a lot of water under the bridge.
Whitfield managed another interview with Quest; it went a bit better, mainly because they barely discussed South Africa (scroll up to watch).
Overall, Covid-19 was managed as well as can be expected in South Africa…Richard Quest, CNN
Quest blames many of the world's current problems on “a failure of everything we’ve believed in for the last 50 or 60 years”.
You’ve got a war in Europe… For the last 20 years, Russia has been fêted, grovelled to… They’re not here because they weren’t invited…Richard Quest, CNN
Quest says that until the war ends and China reopens, inflation will remain at 40-year-highs.
What you are watching are the sausages being made and, as you know, laws and sausages are the two things you never want to see being made!Richard Quest, CNN
However, he remains hopeful.
We will get out of this… That’s why Davos is important…Richard Quest, CNN
Another takeout discussed by Quest from WEF is that the retention of talent is vital and harder than ever.
Companies need the best people. Those that are homophobic, or don’t create a workable environment, you’re not going to go there… Those who don’t offer work/life balance; people will say, ‘Stuff it!’… There are a lot of old fart CEOs that are waking up to a new reality…Richard Quest, CNN