The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
By Alec Hogg
Am once again indebted to Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings for today’s talking point, illustrated in the image below.
Lings appear to thrive on digging into places the rest of us ignore. He pulled out last week’s release from Stats SA on the country’s latest (2022) General Household Survey. It tells us our country is now home to 61.384m souls – a population which has compounded by 1.6% annually over the past decade.
His graphic, republished above, reveals stark differences between population growth by province, with commercial centres acting like a vortex, sucking in people from rural areas. To whit, the commercial heartland of Gauteng added 2.6% annually to its base in the past decade, while the Eastern Cape’s population rose just 0.1% a year.
Two big takeaways:
1) South Africans are getting poorer. Its population growth rate of 1.6% is growing is on average much faster than its economic growth rate. That despite the jiggery-pokery of re-basing the nation’s economic data. The official GDP per capita ($ 6 490) – ie each South African’s share of the economy – is down 26% on a decade ago ($8 800).
2) Political analysts calling an ANC 50%-plus victory in 2024 are smoking something stronger than Durban Poison. Bad economic policies catch up with all political parties. Plus, it is a common cause the ANC is being smashed in urban areas. The latest data shows this is where more voters live than ever before – and keep flocking towards.
Roll on 2024.
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