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Downgrades will make doing business tougher - CEO

Apr 24 2017 15:52
Carin Smith

Cape Town - South Africa's credit downgrade will make doing business tougher as chief financial officers (CFOs) will need to adapt quickly and design new strategy to counter negative consequences, according to Nicolaas van Wyk, president for Africa of the International Association for Financial Executives Institutes (IAFEI).

IAFEI is the global body representing about 22 000 CFOs and finance executives of some of the world's largest companies. Van Wyk is also the CEO of the Southern African Institute for Business Accountants (SAIBA).

SAIBA hosted IAFEIs World Congress in Cape Town last November when Pravin Gordhan was still the minister of finance.

"Now that Pravin is gone, CFOs need confirmation that SA Inc. is in safe hands," says Van Wyk.

"In November 2016, CFOs helped convince ratings agencies to maintain SAs positive outlook. IAFEIs 22 000 global members voiced their support for the country as an investment destination of choice. We hope our hard work will not be undone.”

Van Wyk spoke to Fin24 about how he sees recent developments in SA.

READ: Debate on base erosion and profit shifting heats up

"Our company works for international and local corporates and the increased cost of debt, already tough economic conditions and a global recession on the cards on top of the downgrades create more complexity and more things for CFOs to navigate," Van Wyk told Fin24.

"SA leaders should not forget that SA Inc. must come first. Internal politics in SA are very small in terms of what we need to achieve on an international platform. I am concerned that South Africa's leading position in Africa is being threatened. I want to ensure that SA maintains its leading position."

He said IAFEI wants more transparency and policy certainty.

"SA does not need public in-fighting at the moment. That is why we want to focus on stakeholder relations and how we can leverage value from that. SA needs to improve its image," said Van Wyk.

"It is about SA having the right policy certainty and about taking SA forward."

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