SPONSORED CONTENT* Climate change, religious fanaticism and the rise and rise of China as a superpower are just some of the international issues business strategist and scenario planner Clem Sunter raised as flags (drivers) that could significantly change our futures.
Speaking at Ads24’s annual Food for Thought event in Johannesburg recently, Sunter also raised six local flags as follows:
- Corruption. In his conversations with South African CEOs, corruption is seen as the number one issue that could bring South Africa to its knees, with many envisaging a Venezuelan type outcome. However, Sunter believes that this very real threat is countered by an incredibly strong media that has exposed a large amount of corrupt activity. “I thing that the slim victory of Cyril Ramaphosa in the ANC election was due to this flag and obviously he is now putting in a lot of effort into trying to bring this flag down and good luck to him. We don’t know yet whether he is going to be able to do it, but at least his heart is in the right place,” said Sunter.
- Quality of infrastructure. You can’t grow an economy at 3% per annum without quality infrastructure and certainly without quality education, which is an invisible part of the infrastructure.
- Style of leadership. That everyone loved Mandela is no surprise, however what we must also remember is that his style of leadership helped to stave off a civil war and unite the country. “Mbeki was okay, he certainly wasn’t as good as Mandela. But I’m afraid with Jacob Zuma we started becoming very divided again. We are a divided society so one of the principle flags to watch is whether Cyril in his style of leadership is going to start to bring us all together again.”
- Pockets of excellence. The fact is South Africa has a lot of pockets of excellence. A lot of our companies are genuinely world class in this country. We musn’t dumb them down, we must replicate that excellence.
- The changing nature of work. Work today for young people is completely different from work in the last century. Because of artificial intelligence, robots, automation etc. young people today can’t just go out and get a job, they have to go out and create a job. But schools have not adapted their curriculums to cater for this change. The bottom line is that if you want to create five million jobs in South Africa you are going to have to create one million new businesses.
- Land reform. This is the most incendiary flag and in the worst case scenario it could create a civil war in South Africa. “I feel that Cyril has to do his very best to arrive at a common understanding of how we do change land ownership in South Africa because there is no ways we can continue with the current pattern of land ownership in South Africa,” said Sunter.
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