25 October 2012 The government is considering a bigger role for the private sector and the country’s development finance institutions in order to boost funding for South Africa’s infrastructure drive, says Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Gordhan’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, which he presented in the National Assembly in Cape Town on Thursday, reveals that the pace of public infrastructure spending has picked up over the past 12 months. Gordhan told Parliament that the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (PICC) had reviewed the details of 18 strategic infrastructure programmes, which would add to the current R845-billion infrastructure build programmes already in progress.Build programmes to accelerate investment He said the build programmes would accelerate energy, transport, water and housing investment, open up mining and industrial opportunities and give greater impetus to building economic linkages across southern Africa. “Strategic infrastructure programmes represent large and long-term financial commitments,” he said, adding that the budget provided for part of the funding required, while state-owned enterprises were making substantial investments in their areas of responsibility. While the bulk of infrastructure spending was financed from the balance sheets of state-owned companies, the fiscus funded the provision of social infrastructure, delivered primarily through provinces and municipalities, he said.Private sector investment down in 2011 The Medium Term Budget Policy Statement noted, however, that growth in private sector investment had slowed over 2011, as South African businesses refrained from developing new projects in an environment of weaker business confidence. In contrast, gross fixed capital formation by the public sector grew at 10.9% during the first half of this year, with Eskom, Transnet and the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) accounting for 95% of all capital spending by state-owned enterprises. Government spending on water, sanitation and road infrastructure had also picked up, supporting a nascent recovery in South Africa’s construction sector. The National Treasury believes that as the economic environment improves, rising confidence should result in a gradual improvement in private sector gross fixed capital formation. It said that, with private businesses accounting for about 71% of economic activity and over 75% of jobs, it was crucial to create a buoyant private sector that worked in partnership with an effective government. Domestic growth is expected to remain modest next year and to increase over the next three years, but Gordhan added that faster growth was needed to create the jobs South Africa needs. Source: SANews.gov.za
Nation branding challenges and successes faced by Eastern European countries such as Ukraine, Bulgaria and Kosovo, in the wake of political and social change in the region since 1989, were held up as lessons in nation branding.Professor Nadia Kaneva offered the analysis in a presentation titled “The branded national imagination and its limits: Insights from the post-socialist experience” given at a Brand South Africa Competitiveness Forum for South African academia. Held at the University of Pretoria, Tshwane, on 5 October 2016, the forum aimed at in-depth analysis of global and domestic issues influencing the reputation and competitiveness of the nation’s brand.“As communism was ending, the Romanian flag allowed for a discourse around the future of the Nation” says Dr. Nadia Kaneva @Brand_SA forum pic.twitter.com/31tJ98AQhF— Guido van Garderen (@GuidovGarderen) October 5, 2016Presenting at the event were key academics in the fields of business, humanities and political science, from a host of South African universities and tertiary institutions.The goal of the dialogue is to compile all presentations and contributions into a peer-reviewed journal, with a view to positioning South Africa as a thought leader in nation branding. Key to the success of that journal will be the keynote contribution from Kaneva.Bulgarian-born Kaneva is an associate professor in the University of Denver’s media, film and journalism faculty. She is a globally respected and widely published researcher who uses critical sociology and media studies to dissect the commercialisation of politics and culture in Eastern Europe through nation branding and reputation-building.Kaneva’s ultimate conclusion – that in order to be more effective, an imagined nation brand should align closer to and more realistically to the changes in the nation and its people – was honed through extensive research on radical changes in Romania after the fall of communism, post-conflict Kosovo during the 2000s and the relationship between Ukraine and Russia as recently as three years ago.The lessons learnt in the research can be just as easily applied to any nation brand, especially for emerging economies like South Africa, she says.In introducing Kaneva, University of Pretoria deputy dean of humanities Professor Maxi Schoeman highlighted the importance of getting an outsider view on building South Africa’s brand internationally, someone objective enough to weigh up the differences and similarities between the country and nations with similar histories.The science and application of nation branding was now very much part of mainstream academia and an essential tool for governance, Kaneva said at the start of her presentation. As a legitimate interdisciplinary field, the study of nation branding included elements of media and marketing ideas, anthropological study, business theory and sociology.Yet, Kaneva argued, developing and managing a national brand and reputation would always be a highly political and therefore delicate process, the success of which did not always lie in the area of savvy marketing or critical theory.This was evident in post-socialist Eastern Europe countries experiencing the swift changes of political and economic experiments, Kaneva said.Extensive global multichannel marketing campaigns by Romania and Kosovo highlighted each country’s promise in its people and economics in a vastly depoliticised way, focusing on things such as tourism and investment and replacing a more realistic national identity with something more market-oriented, in other words, what “the outside world wanted to see”.In 2009, two years after gaining independence, Kosovo’s first attempt at marketing the country to the outside world was in the form of a television commercial, The Young Europeans. While carrying a positive message of reconciliation and cultural tolerance as well as an eagerness to partake economically in the European Union, it told little about the country and its people to outsiders (investors, tourists) that would differentiate it from any other European nation.While initially successful, there was a negative reaction from citizens, who felt misrepresented by this imagined nation brand. As Kaneva says, a rejection of idealised, imagined branding is ultimately counter-productive to what a country brand really wants to achieve.Watch The Young Europeans:At the crux of the argument, Kaneva says, is honesty with the nation brand, creating an identity that can actually be recognised by the people it is supposed to be representing.Offering solutions to link the imagined nation brand closer to reality, Kaneva highlighted the following:Recognise that nation branding has a political element and embrace it, with all its shortcomings and diversities.Invest in programmes and policy that encourages and grows both citizen engagement and development in the nation and its brand: let people inform the national message.Look beyond the data of perception ratings to formulate effective nation brand evaluation and measurement: outside views, particularly those formulated with data, are important, but other research models are necessary to get the complete picture of a nation.Diminish the focus and use of transnational mass media nation brand advertising; look to niche marketing opportunities for creating a truer, most consistent national image and reputation.Concluding her presentation, Kaneva said that reconstructing and refreshing national identities, particularly for nations with a history of significant political and societal transformation, should always consider the transformations of the people it represented, adding that, “without a nation there will be nothing to brand”.Download full presentationSouthAfrica.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SouthAfrica.info material
Johannesburg, Tuesday 27 March 2018 – Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s Performance in the 2017 Open Budget Survey (OBS) Index. South Africa ranks 2 out of 115 nations, making the country the second most transparent system after New Zealand, and leading Sweden and Norway that rank at 3rd and 4th respectively. The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only comparative and independent assessment of fiscal transparency, oversight, and participation at the national level. The survey is carried out by independent researchers who respond to a set of factual questions in each of the 115 countries assessed. Each country’s results are then reviewed by an anonymous expert, and governments are also given an opportunity to provide their comments. The survey examines formal participation in the budget process at the national level. The 2017 OBS also assessed the core institutions of representative democracies by evaluating novel approaches to formal public participation in budgeting. Brand South Africa’s CEO, Dr Kingsley Makhubela said: “Transparency is an important aspect of good governance, and transparent decision making is critical for the public sector to make sound decisions and investments, while also attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. “Transparency creates an environment for effective decision-making. The most frequently cited argument for transparency is information should be accessible to enable citizens to actively participate in policymaking and hold leaders accountable for their decisions, and ultimately influence which decisions are taken and why. At a more basic level, transparency is critical for decision-makers, as it assists them to formulate policy, improve service provision, and manage resources responsibly.” The OBS 2017 report states that ‘Sub-Saharan Africa showed the largest decline in transparency in this round, yet the region drove much of the improvement in transparency in the 2015 survey.’ It also notes that ‘this recent decline in transparency overall is significantly less than the gains found in previous rounds of the survey; which means that government budgets are still considerably more transparent today than they were a decade ago.’ Follow the conversation on #CompetitiveSA Notes to the Editor About Brand South AfricaBrand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship. About Play Your PartPlay Your Part is a nationwide programme created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing. A nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone. Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates and individuals, NGOs and government, churches and schools, from the young to the not-so-young. It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.