By Ntombi Mhlongo
With the global economy faced with a myriad of growth challenges, businesses need to change their strategies and start doing things outside the norm.
This is a piece of advice shared by Inyatsi Group Holdings Chairman Michelo Shakantu in his end-of-year speech. The Chairman was giving his observation of the year 2022 and what he believes businesses need to do to recover from challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic effects and recession.
Shakantu highlighted that the world economy has shrunk because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recession which is currently manifesting itself.
“I say manifesting because it is just being born and the world has not really embraced it for several reasons. The pandemic period brought a fourth sense of spending by most governments and there was some recovery that came out from that situation, and now that recovery has disappeared, we are back to the real position”.
Shakantu said with the shrinking economic activity around the world, organisations need to change their strategies and the only thing that will sustain them is cost-cutting and innovation. Elaborating, he said this means doing things outside the norm, and coming up with better solutions and ideas. He said these should be solutions that should be highly driven for the organisations to survive.
“The year 2022 for me was the recovery year, we came out of a Covid-19 pandemic. In essence, it was the year where when we had to go to the basics and begin to re-formalise business to be normal. It is a year we had to reorganise ourselves, start from scratch, go back to the bare minimum standards, and begin to rebuild businesses step by step,” he said.
Shakantu went on to say that such requires businesses and organisations, including Inyatsi to take stock and come up with a different posture and a different set of values and ways of doing abusiveness.
“It is as if the world has stopped and started. So, you will understand that when you restart something, you go back to the basics. So, for me basically, the year was all about refocusing the basics across all businesses and I think that is how we have been able to build the foundation that will create a sustainable future”.
On another note, the Chairman observed that the Covid-19 pandemic also changed the mindset of the Inyatsi Group Holdings’ workforce.
“I said to them, anything is possible. I think in our generation the world has never seen something like that. It is a world catastrophe. It is a situation where we begin to see people take a different posture in the workplace,” he said.”.
In summary, Shakantu observed that the pandemic made people realise that there is a need to put in more effort, to be much more prepared, and much more resilient. But most importantly, he said there was a need for organisations and businesses to align with the human side which is wellness.
“It is a lesson that we must prepare ourselves so that should anything like this happen again, we would be more ready and able to defend our position as human beings, as organisations and as countries. So, that is what we have had to go through and accept and understand,” he said.
2023 will be a complex year
The chairman agrees with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has projected that 2023 will be a complex one. The IMF has projected that this year will be tougher than 2022 for most of the global economy as the United States, European Union and China see slowing growth.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said 2023 will be a “tough year”, with one-third of the world’s economies expected to be in recession.
“Why? Because the three big economies, [the] US, EU, China, are all slowing down simultaneously,” Georgieva said during an appearance on the CBS program “Face the Nation” recently.
The remarks come after the IMF in October cut its global growth forecast to 2.7 per cent, down from the 2.9 per cent forecast in July, amid headwinds including the war in Ukraine and sharply rising interest rates.
Georgieva said that China, the world’s second-largest economy, is likely to grow at or below global growth for the first time in 40 years as COVID-19 cases surge following the dismantling of its ultra-strict “zero-Covid” policy.
Meanwhile, the Inyatsi Chairman said while the year 2022 was a year of resetting, renewing foundations and setting the stage for rebuilding businesses, 2023 will require a different posture as far as resilience is concerned.
“So, it is going to be a tough year and I think for us it is the strength, planning, organisation processes, the reengineering required. It is going to be a complex year that will require an enormous amount of skills. It will also then open up globalisation because it will require us to import services, to be less of local but more global,” the Chairman said.
Elaborating on the projections, Shakantu said several carry-ons from 2022 will be the damage caused by the pandemic, the reorganisation of the workforce and make them much more resilient.
“This basically means that we have to begin to prepare them emotionally because there are huge gaps in the world of business today. Businesses closed and somebody must provide solutions to those gaps”.
By Ntombi Mhlongo