Tough competition in South Africa

Economically South Africa is going through a difficult time right now, and those involved in the AV market are having to battle in an ever increasingly competitive marketplace says Paul Milligan.

There is no doubt that South Africa is not enjoying the best of times at the moment.  Unemployment is at 24 per cent, mining in the country, so long the backbone of the economy, has hit a low, and it’s currently going through the longest run of power outages the country has ever seen, with 45 days of power blackouts so far this year alone. 

This is despite government spending totaling one trillion rand (US$8.3billion) in the last five years on infrastructure projects.  Last year’s the economy grew just 1.5 per cent, which was the slowest pace since 2009.  President Jacob Zuma has pledged to boost growth to five per cent, but Moody’s Investors Service has dubbed South Africa’s economic performance as 'dismal' this year and said it may only reach three per cent growth in 2017.

Despite all this gloom there was optimism within the country’s AV industry from the people we spoke to.  "It’s been absolutely awesome in the last 18 months, with technology progressing quickly and some incredible creative concepts coming through. 

"We’ve seen some phenomenal AV-driven shows, from massive conferencing to product launches, concerts to fashion shows.  Going forward, we’re excited,”  said Mike Flynn, technical director from Johannesburg-based integrators CI Nation.

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