February 11th, 2011
04:00 PM GMT
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February 11th, 2011
03:50 PM GMT
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Protests have now spread far beyond Cairo and Alexandria, labor unrest is boiling over in factories and major port areas and former business titans and parliamentarians are being told not to travel – add it all up and it’s not the ideal backdrop for re-booting the region’s most populous country.

While the business world is looking for key signs of the wheels of commerce starting to move again with the re-opening of banks, core fundamental issues are more worrying by the day.

Initial forecasts from some of the region's leading economists are starting to look at revising their growth figures. From Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole: economic growth of 5.3% now revised down to 3.7%. To be candid, that seems quite conservative, if this attempt at a controlled transition begins to unravel. The country is currently losing more than $300 million a day in revenues.

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February 11th, 2011
01:06 PM GMT
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There has been much criticism in South Africa in the past few months around a “youth conference,” which apparently cost millions of dollars to host.

There has been a great sense of indignation in the media about the amount of money spent on what was seen as just a “talk fest.”

Whether you like it or not, conferences are a reality of modern business life. From the big-hitting World Economic Forum in Davos to the small-town gathering of local municipal players, for example, conferences are ubiquitous events.

However, South Africans are particularly fond of putting on large meetings to talk things through. Called anything from a summit to an "indaba" or a "legotla," they are encouraged as a very African way of dealing with issues.

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