🔒 Boardroom Talk: Geopolitics at critical juncture – no more own goals for SA please

By Alec Hogg

After 2021’s rebalancing, which raised the economy’s official size by 11%, South Africa’s GDP is now $420bn. The world’s GDP is over $100 trillion. This means SA accounts for just 0.4% of global economic activity – for every $1 000 spent anywhere on earth this year, only $4 will be on the southern tip of Africa.

Here’s another critical stat. SA is home to 60m people. That compares with the eight billion souls that now occupy the planet. So, of every thousand sapiens, around seven are South African. For context, that’s roughly the same as the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzen combined.  


On a global scale, therefore, the Beloved Country is small beer. Being little makes it a price taker, a rule follower, a bobbing cork on the global economic ocean. It also makes it challenging to play all sides, something SA has practised with varying levels of success since the Mandela era.

As the excellent piece from the FT’s Martin Wolf articulates, geopolitics is now at a critical juncture. Consequences are sure to follow Pretoria’s choices. So best for those who lead us to understand SA’s realities and embrace this complexity. And, please, stop scoring needless own goals.        



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