Cyril sending a message that has quickly won over the Davos cynics

By Alec Hogg

Being in Davos makes it impossible to ignore the seismic shifts in our warp speed world. Over breakfast I heard how the blockchain will transform everything from payment systems to how we trade assets. At dusk I was absorbing gifted author/professor Yuval Noah Harari’s perspectives on how to position ourselves for the huge challenges that are upon mankind. More on both subjects in due course.

Of more immediate interest for South Africans is how sentiment towards the country is swinging. It has become noticeable among both internal and external audiences.

It’s like the WEF’s informal grapevine has suddenly caught alight. Everybody, it seems, wants to plug into SA’s president-in-waiting Cyril Ramaphosa. Yesterday’s private briefing for investors was oversubscribed. As was the annual Brand SA dinner. And the world’s biggest media brands are falling over each trying to arrange interviews.

The Goldman Sachs endorsement (SA top emerging market for 2018) has helped. But more so is the way Ramaphosa’s poise and charm, together with a rational message, has gone down. It’s no coincidence that the currency yesterday strengthened to below R12 to the US dollar for the first time in two and a half years. Hope springs.

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