The Cape 1000 is Africa’s answer to the Mille Miglia

This article appeared in the U.K travel site Detour on 31st March 2022 – https://detour-roadtrips.com/home/the-cape-1000-is-africas-answer-to-the-mille-miglia

Inspired by Italy’s most epic rally, the Cape 1000 is four days of petrolhead perfection in beautiful wine country.

At the foot of the iconic flat-top Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town, a group of excited, mainly male, sports and vintage car enthusiasts from all over South Africa gather at the V&A Waterfront Hotel.  The expansive dockside development is the scene for the inauguration of the Cape 1000, a first-of-its-kind vintage car rally inspired by Italy’s Mille Miglia, voyaging deep into Cape Town’s scenic hinterland.

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For its own good, SA must take the regional lead against Russia

This article appeared in the Opinion and Analysis section of the Sunday Times Daily (SA) on 27/02/2022

In the cacophony of diplomatic noise that followed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, SA’s swift statement released by the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) hours after the start of the invasion and calling out Russia directly went largely unnoticed.

Unique among Brics, its underlying tone was notably different in its directness. The change in tone was even noticed by the Russian embassy which, in its usual cold, curt and cutting fashion, responded on social media with the simple sentence: “Kindly refrain from interfering.”

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A conversation on Greece’s recent diplomatic foray into Africa on Pantelis Savvidis’s (ERT3) Greek web channel “Anixneusis”

Speaking yesterday (Sunday 16th January 2022) with esteemed colleagues, Pantelis Savvidis, Retired General Ilias Leontaris, Nikos D Kanellos, and journalist Sakis Moumtzis on the weekly Sunday morning podcast “Anixneusis” – the free-to-air Greek web tv channel, administrated by Pantelis Savvidis – previously on ERT3.

We spoke about the validity of Greece’s new diplomatic push into Africa. The historic ties between the continent and the Greek people and ultimately whether it was cause for optimism and a true renewal in relations or just another false dawn.

https://youtu.be/iN4goCTmSns

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A conversation with Shuaibu Idris, a development economist from Nigeria, about the future of infrastructure spending in Africa

On the 16th December 2021, I had a fascinating chat with Shuaibu Idris, a Nigerian development economist and MD of Time-Line Consult, a Lagos-based financial consultancy and management firm, about the state of infrastructure spending and general investment levels on the continent for an article for the weekday South African media outlet, Business Day ( https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2021-12-23-george-philipas-infrastructure-spending-in-africa-is-at-a-crossroads/ )… Thought I would share his insightful extended comments.

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Infrastructure spending in Africa is at a crossroads

An edited version of this article appeared in the Opinions and Analysis section of Business Day (South Africa) on 23/12/2021: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2021-12-23-george-philipas-infrastructure-spending-in-africa-is-at-a-crossroads/

The pandemic has certainly not been kind to investment prospects in Africa.  Lead by a slowdown in infrastructure investment from China, foreign direct investment (FDI), already heading south before the onset of the pandemic, fell by 18% in 2020.  More ominously, greenfield investment, investment in new projects, fell precipitously by 63% according to the Global Investment Trends Monitor released by UNCTAD in Jan 2021, the largest regional fall on the globe last year.  The proverbial onslaught culminated with the announcement earlier this month at the recent Forum of China-Africa Cooperation conference (FOCAC) in Dakar, Senegal that plots Sino-African relations for the next three years, of a vertical drop in investment from China from US$ 60 billion to US$40 billion. 

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Failure shows SA Companies should reconsider African strategy

An edited version of this article appeared in the daily weekday ed of Business Day (South Africa) on 18/10/2021:

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2021-10-17-george-philipas-failures-show-sa-companies-should-reconsider-african-strategy/

There has been a flurry of activity by South African companies on the continent recently.  From Vodacom’s successful bid as minority partner for the Ethiopian telecommunications license to the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between South African Airlines (SAA) and Kenyan Airways (KQ) that is intended to sow the seed for a pan-African airline.   In fact, South African companies have made great inroads into Africa over the last two decades or so and seem to dominate the African business space.  According to a 2018 report by the Boston Consulting Group, South African companies make up 32 out of the 75 African multinationals active on the continent.  And according to a recent 2021 fDi Intelligence report, a leading research agency and a division of the Financial Times, South Africa is the second biggest investor on the continent from Africa or the Middle East, behind only the UAE. 

But there is another side to this unquestionable success, one punctuated by regular missteps and blunders that have been repeated to the great detriment of a significant number of South African companies in Africa. 

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The labour shortage conundrum: What economists are missing in their hunt to explain the record number of job vacancies

The stay-at-home rate amongst the 18-34 year old age group – those who have moved back or never left the parental home – may well be a crucial missing link in explaining the record number of job vacancies and labour shortages in the developed world.

And the long-run consequences could be dire that could lead to far more persistent labour shortages than many realise, especially at the lower end, and by extension lead to higher levels of inflation for longer.
And with more angry, young people with no hope and a bleak future comes increased unrest and civil strife.

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The source of inflation that nearly no-one is focused on and everyone needs to worry about…

The great inflation debate that begun in earnest following the current U.S administration’s US$1.9tn coronavirus relief package in early Spring 2021 has morphed into something more serious than the jovial sideshow that is was before.   Recent monthly U.S consumer price inflation (the percentage increase in prices across a range of representative goods and services) continues to overstep forecasts.  In June in the U.S it came in at a whopping 5.4% – the highest jump since the early 80s.  If this persists, at stake is the end of cheap money upon which advanced economies have come to rely so heavily upon – that is, if increases in interest rates are deployed to combat the problem and one that has not reared its ugly head in a generation.

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Why worries about inflation are missing the point…It’s the debt (and low productivity) stupid… We are in the last days of the post-1945 economic miracle

From a repeat of the Roaring 20s to the Boring 20s to “That ‘70s Show”, describing the decade ahead by diving deep into the past for comparisons has become a bit of a fad. 

It’s certainly a fun thought experiment for those who care about these things.

But there is a serious unspoken truth to it all. 

Continue reading “Why worries about inflation are missing the point…It’s the debt (and low productivity) stupid… We are in the last days of the post-1945 economic miracle”