There seems to be a sense of optimism in the air as we step into the New Year; the rand is stronger against the US dollar compared to the same time last year and the delegation attending the recent Word Economic Forum in Davos have reported strong collaboration between business, labour and government. The recent good rains over a large part of our country have also added to the change in spirit.
Adding to that was the announcement in December 2016 that global rating agency Standard & Poor’s was maintaining South Africa Sovereign Credit Rating at BBB. The decision appeared to have been a close one, as opinions leading up to the announcement were split over whether we had done enough to prevent a downgrade. However, this position is still perilous and we have a lot to do during 2017 to help stabilise our economy.
The South African Insurance Association is committed to playing our part in South Africa’s economic recovery. We are evolving our role in the financial services industry and one of our key goals for 2017 is to grow in stature as an industry body. In 2016 we identified the need to form strategic partnerships to reach this objective. A significant amount of work was done in this regard and in 2017 we look forward to strengthening the foundations that were built with National Treasury, the South African Reserve Bank, the Association of Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) and the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) – to name but a few of our partnerships.
Another focus for this year will be to align with the National Development Plan (NDP) and improve the levels of financial inclusion in South Africa. This brings me to our inaugural SAIA Indaba, which will include an open debate with leaders, influencers, and stakeholders in the financial services sector. The theme of the Indaba will be the importance of meeting the NDP’s objectives and how we can align as an industry to achieve these objectives. This exciting event will take place in the second quarter of 2017 and we will be in touch closer to the time with exact dates.
On behalf of the SAIA team and I, we wish you a prosperous 2017 and trust individually and collectively we will make a difference this year.