Navigating the world of global uncertainty — Lionesses of Africa

Impact Partner Content / Absa / by Janeal Haskins Head: Forex Sales and International Banking

A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, severe impact and the widespread insistence that they were obvious in hindsight. The term was popularized by the book, The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

This term best describes the current constrained economic landscape and the myriad of disasters that we’ve had to navigate as South Africa. These catastrophic events have not made doing business any easier for many small, developed and struggling businesses over this period.

Since the first event of 2020, namely the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and households globally were impacted by the sudden onslaught of lockdown restrictions, health concerns, rising death tolls, national healthcare facility constraints, job losses, business closures and just all-round panic and chaos. Little did we know that this would only be the start of many more equivalent and unpredictable events. In 2021, South Africa had to deal with a sudden eruption of civil unrest countrywide, looting of already crippled businesses and impact to an already struggling economy, and if that wasn’t enough, KZN experienced the never-before-seen floods of devastation wreaking havoc after the looting that caused such mass destruction. Then the world wakes up to a full-on Russia/Ukraine war and the world tumbles again amid rising fuel prices, food and general shortages, The devastating effect of lives being lost as the rest of the world watches on in total despair and disbelief, and j to add to the gloomy state of these unforeseen and catastrophic events, Eskom exasperates the situation even further with the constant rollout of load shedding.

As many businesses await the geopolitical climate to shift, they’re spending less on capital goods, and not making any buying decisions.  Many are dealing with supply chain disruption caused by issues at harbours, increased cost and shortage in containers, harbours closed due to floods, and scarcity of goods because of lockdowns in countries such as China and Japan from which they are sourced. That is why, at Absa, we believe in partnership and will go beyond managing your cross-border trade requirements by acting as your trusted business partner. We will walk this unpredictable journey with you and help navigate the world of global uncertainty and help manage those supplier relationships affected by these challenges.

We recognize that your ability to compete in the international trade market depends on a bank that can provide sound expertise coupled with meaningful products and services. We have invested in resources and people who can provide advice on how exchange rate risk can be adequately managed and mitigated through various forex hedging solutions. In addition, we have a full range of fully domestic and cross-border-related products such as trade loans, that can help optimize your working capital by matching your financing needs to your trade cycle, allowing you to run your business effectively by bridging the gap between payment for import goods and receipt of funds through sales.

This specialist knowledge and understanding allows Absa to provide a unique service in supporting your international business in its entirety. For more information on these products and services, visit

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