2020 (Im)Perfect vision

Trends in 2020 have been spotted globally by famous names – Marian Salzman of Philip Morris International, Dion Chang of Flux Trends in Johannesburg, Fjord Trends and Kantar – to credit some of the trends listed here. The overarching themes include sustainability, realigning the fundamentals, #MeFirst and pressure on corporates to act in more responsible and socially proactive ways.

Artificiality and authenticity– people search craft beer, free range produce, artisan crafts … and vegan leather, plant-based burgers and fake diamonds.

High speed connectivity, and issues of privacy– people are rethinking their relationship with the internet and social media. And being far more attentive to guarding their privacy and sense of security. Internationally, a third of Gen Zs (people born between mid 1990s and early 2000s) intend to leave social media altogether.

Money is morphing– the birthplace of mobile money (Mpesa in Kenya), digital payments are going to become easier and more accessible to the masses: ‘buy anything, anywhere, anytime’.

Conscious consumption– people are evaluating their own personal impact on the planet and society. Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Emma Gonzalez have demonstrated masterful use of social media to further their causes. Our own local activist Ayakha Melithafa, a 17 year-old climate activist from Cape Town, called for an immediate moratorium on the extraction of coal and oil and gas in South Africa at the UN.

Civil protest– protests in 2019 in Beirut (Lebanon), Santiago (Chile), Catalonia (Spain) and Hong Kong after the release of the movie The Joker, protesters were seen wearing a Joker mask, or painting their faces like The Joker. ‘The Joker is a symbol of the oppressed, the downtrodden, the ignored, the abused. But the mask also carries a warning – basically ignore me at your peril. I will strike back.’ (Aidan McGarry, lecturer in international politics, University of Loughborough.)

More specifically on the local front:

Constitutional confusion– the ANC-led parliament tabled several pieces of draft legislation that seek to give the state control over aspects of society that a state should not have. Hard fought constitutional principles are in jeopardy, while the government seems unable to deliver on areas they should control, such as providing basic services, keeping law and order and helping the economy grow.

Delivery–our economy is severely undermined by the inability of SOEs and local authorities to govern, manage, maintain and provide basic services.

Accountability– the wheels are in motion to charge high profile offenders who have been responsible for ‘State Capture’.

Ubuntu– viability will no longer be shaped by return on investment or shareholder value. Governments, corporates and individuals must take up the challenge of ‘life-centred design’ and move towards developing community enabled products and services. Inclusion of the greater community creates personal and collective ownership and responsibility and resonates with deeply entrenched value systems and the African mindset of community and culture. Property Stokvels have driven financial institutions to develop products and services to serve this new market.

From Kantar – a leading data, insights and consulting company:

‘Be ready. 2020 is the “time for (more of) Africa”. Business in Africa isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. Succeeding here is about how you dance in the rain.’

By Lee Maddeux

Image: Pradeep Ranjan/Unsplash

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