South Africa fears job losses with US proposed tariffs
The Trump administration’s proposed import tariffs have reached as far as South Africa, with the US considering the implementation of a 25% tariff on imported goods from the nation.
The threat of imports has concerned South African manufacturing, especially the auto manufacturing industry, and the aluminum and steel sectors.
The Business Unity of South Africa (BUSA) has warned that the duties could lead to thousands of job losses in the industries.
“The threat to more than 7,000 jobs posed by the imposition of tariffs on South African steel and aluminium exports to the US remains a big concern, as every single job counts and the country cannot afford any further job loses in an economy that has such high unemployment levels,” stated Busiswe Mabuza, a representative of BUSA, Citizen reported.
“Minister [Rob] Davies, business acknowledges your brilliant efforts at government-to-government level in trying to negotiate exemptions for South African exporters in this regard.”
The nation’s vehicle exports rose to US$2bn per year over the last 10 years, due to the African growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“I don’t know what demand in America will be for South African goods in six months, 12 months,” remarked Economist, and Chairman and CEO of Sage Policy group.
“So what I might do is not make an investment, not commit to a purchase, and ultimately this brings this global economic recovery that we’ve been experiencing to a grinding halt, potentially. People are nervous about that.”
“Stock markets around the world are nervous about that. And that’s not good for a port.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.