You can’t spin everything

The month of September 2015 was very busy with both the Machine Tools Africa 2014 exhibition and the Africa Aerospace and Defence 2014 exhibition and airshow running simultaneously, at two different venues. Both exhibitions are very popular which makes the logistics of gaining entry into the exhibition grounds somewhat trying, in particular AAD 2014, which was held at the Waterkloof Airbase just outside Pretoria. I think 90% of the visitors, and there are plenty of them, are there to see the airshow rather than find out any information regarding the exhibitors.

The stress levels are reduced when you are engulfed with the news from clients and exhibitors. As a result, there are a number of positive stories in the Industry News section in this issue, and it is not just me putting my spin on them. The positive news theme is continued in the Shopfront Focus section with millions of rands being invested by the companies that appear in this issue.

Then I read a report on the authoritative A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index® for 2014, now in its 16th year, which takes an in-depth view of forward-looking investment sentiment among senior executives surveyed from 300 of the world’s leading corporations.

According to the report, economic recovery is taking much longer than anticipated and continues to be fragile. Yet the business executives they surveyed for the 2014 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index® are more optimistic about the global economy than they were a year ago, and signs of renewed confidence are increasingly evident.

The United States once again tops the list of countries where corporate executives say they are most likely to direct their foreign investment dollars. A full 49 percent of respondents have a positive view of the United States, the highest number recorded in the index’s 16-year history.

In broader terms, OECD member states account for 17 of the top 25 likely FDI destinations (including 11 European countries), in what appears to be a flight to quality. Even so, a core group of developing economies—China, Brazil, and India among them—continue to enjoy widespread confidence among business leaders. Many other emerging markets also make this year’s cut.

The US maintains its first place position from last year, followed by China and Canada. While the findings bode well for the US, the encouraging news was that South Africa climbed two spots to become the 13th most attractive destination. We are ahead of countries like, and I have listed them in order as they appear after South Africa, Switzerland, Malaysia, Sweden, Chile, Spain, Japan, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Turkey and Indonesia in 25th position. Of the BRICS countries only Russia does not feature well, so we are keeping good company.

Based on this year’s FDI Confidence Index, we can affirm that foreign direct investment appears once again to be ready for takeoff. However, South Africa’s aim should be to be listed in the top 10 because, according to the report, these are the countries that attract most of the investment funds.