USB News

On the Horizon: An Outlook for 2019

  • FEB 18 2019
  • Tags Outlook, 2019, Business, Seminar, Event, Economics, Education, Technology, Politic

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The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), USB Executive Development (USB-ED) and the Institute for Futures Research (IFR) recently hosted their annual On the Horizon business indaba. It took place at the FNB Portside Building in Cape Town and the HB Connect Building in Sandton, Johannesburg.

WATCH: A playlist with all the presentations is on our YouTube channel

Cape Town

Politics

Ebrahim Fakir, Director of Programmes at the Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute (ASRI) and part-time lecturer in Governance at the WITS School of Governance, addressed politics and racial identity, and the implications for an election year. He said intra-racial inequality in South Africa is increasing, all political parties in the country are in a mess and the future of institutions in South Africa are at risk as a result. “People will seek out different forms of organisation if political structures do not serve the people.”

Economics

Prof André Roux, head: USB’s Futures Studies programmes, said that pivotal uncertainties relating to the future of the South African economy hinge on the integrity and trust in institutions and the ability to develop appropriate skill levels. “We need to make sure our young population is suitably equipped to find jobs. We need to mobilise our young people, training them in competitive high tech skills, in order to bring about a better future for our economy.”

Education

Dr Lize Barclay, senior lecturer in Futures Studies at USB, said that the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) does not mean that everybody should become a software engineer and forget about the ‘soft skills’. She said that art, philosophy and critical thinking is the kind of education that we need. “Too much focus on STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and not enough into liberal arts.”

Technology

Artificial intelligence is going to take away a fair amount of current labour opportunities and the world has to learn how to deal with that, said Martin Butler, head of the MBA programme at USB. “The most common question that I’m being asked when I have a public appearance on technology, in particular on automation and artificial intelligence, would be ‘what is it going to do to employment and how is it going to affect my current position’. The reality is that in the world that we are dealing with, the robot is going to eat your job and the robot is going to take a fair amount of current labour opportunities away and we have to learn how to deal with it.”

Johannesburg

Politics

Ebrahim Fakir also addressed the audience at the Johannesburg event. He said that political parties in South Africa are unable to craft appropriate policies and solutions and that in a democratic society “you don’t rule, you govern”.

Economics

Commissioner Nthabiseng Moleko, lecturer in Managerial Economics and Statistics at USB, said that the rising middle class is heavily indebted, from 54, 1% to 76, 9% and that we need to increase our productivity and drive our own growth. She added that South Africans need to change the culture of saving in the country.

Education

Educator and economist Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie said that education represents an important determinant of economic development and South Africa has done well to place education at the core of its Vision 2030. He added that in South Africa, just like in most African countries, a number of skills development initiatives are in place but are often not adequately responding to the needs of the economy hence creating unemployment.

Technology

Technology is just the enabler; we must focus on how we as humans can use technology to solve problems, said entrepreneur Annette Muller, founder of Flexyforce. She also stressed the importance of being able to adapt to a new way of working and encouraged the audience to “put their skills online as an alternative way of earning money”.

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