It is hard to believe we are nearly half-way through 2022. When I think back to two years ago – still at Level 3 lockdown, not really able to travel, many schools still closed as well as many businesses – things are looking very different now. The Department of Statistics SA recently released an economic update showing our GDP expanded by 1,9% in the first quarter of 2022. The size of the economy is now at pre-pandemic levels, with real GDP slightly higher than what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report further shows household consumption increased by 1,4% in the first quarter, while the hospitality sector in particular saw a sharp rise in activity as consumer spending on restaurants and hotels increased by 6,5%. So while many businesses are still struggling to make their way out of the post-pandemic depression, there is reason to be optimistic.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently underlined the importance of growing the country’s digital economy, with the release of new broadband spectrum having been identified as a key reform for driving economic growth. While this process has been delayed, South Africa is undertaking other digital reforms, including the publication of the country’s draft national data and cloud policy which ultimately seeks to put in place a conducive and enabling environment for the data ecosystem to thrive.
While the past two years helped some online businesses to thrive, it also unfortunately saw many publishers and merchants closing down. It is therefore encouraging to see a pickup in enquiries coming in from new publishers and prospective advertisers wanting to join the network. International travel, which was essentially dead for nearly two years, has picked up steadily though we are yet to see the numbers reach pre-pandemic levels. I believe this will take some time.
For those of you who will be taking some time off for the winter school break I wish you a relaxed time ahead. Safe travels to those heading out to different corners of the country and the world. Let us come back rested and ready for whatever the rest of 2022 has to offer.
Onwards and upwards!
Daniel Gross – CEO