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Top Risks Facing South Africa

Prolonged economic stagnation, unemployment, state collapse, failure of public infrastructure, proliferation of illicit economic activity – these are the top risks facing South Africa, according to the 17th World Economic Forum Global Risks Report. Compiled by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Global Risks Advisory Board, together with Marsh McLennan, SK Group and Zurich Insurance, the report paints a picture of a world still reeling from the aftermath and continued havoc of a pandemic. South Africa was identified as one of 31 countries, including Argentina, France, Germany and Mexico, with high risks around the erosion of social cohesion. Spiros Fatouros, chief executive of Marsh Africa, pointed out that disparities that already existed before the Covid-19 pandemic are now widening. “Globally, there’s 51 million more people that are projected to live in extreme poverty,” he says. South Africa’s unemployment levels reached a record of 34.9% in the third quarter of last year. Economists say the latest bout of job losses can largely be attributed to the widespread unrest and looting in July last year, the overall level of unemployment is disastrous, particularly when one considers that about 550,000 to 600,000 people enter the labour force each year. In short, South Africa has a huge mountain to climb just to get back to the level of employment prior to Covid-19.