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Slow economic recovery as lockdown eases
The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic over the past six months has resulted in an economic crisis that has challenged the fundamental assumptions upon which the economy is based.

Speaking on the state of the economy at the launch of the eThekwini Economic Council on 9 September, eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said the economic crisis has forced firms and governments to prioritise essential services and rapidly move systems online to enable business continuity.

“The damage to the economy has affected the collection rate of municipalities and it will take years to get back to normal. As the City, we have taken the lead in the country by not only putting in place health and social interventions but to set out a path to economic recovery.”

He added: “At the same time, the reality is that the pre-lockdown levels of economic activity were fundamentally flawed in that the City’s economy was already in recession while levels of inequality were deeply embedded in the structure of the economy.”

However, slow recovery is visible in the economy. The Durban EDGE reports that national business confidence, the City’s building plans, electricity and water consumption, and even flights and tourism bed nights, are all on the increase since the easing of restrictions in line with lockdown levels. However, economic activity is still drastically down compared to the same time last year. Durban’s GDP is estimated to have contracted by 20.5 percent between quarter one and quarter two, or 60.2 percent (annualised rate), with manufacturing experiencing the highest rand value loss in sales across all sectors.

South Africa’s GDP growth for quarter two has been estimated at -51 percent (annualised). This includes both hard lockdown 5 and 4 levels, at which only 34 percent and 42 percent of the Durban’s economy was operational, respectively. The figure shows that bed nights have picked up since lockdown level 4 was lifted, showing slow and anaemic recovery in the tourism sector. Accommodation establishments are still only 10 percent full on average.

For more information, visit www.edge.durban

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