Written by Staff Writer
Nicolaas van Wyk recently spoke on a #CFOClubConvo webinar about the project he is spearheading with the Gauteng MEC for Finance Jacob Mamabolo to boost collaboration between the public sector and private sector CFOs to grow Gauteng’s economy.
Finding enlightenment in Indian
While attending last year’s International Federation of Accountants conference in India, Nicolaas van Wyk, CIBA’s CEO, came across an enlightening idea.
“There were about 30 to 40 000 accountants, mostly from India. Speaker after speaker, whether from government or business or the individual accountants running accounting firms… they were all speaking from the same hymn book.”
“India has to uplift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and that’s their focus. The way they want to achieve this is through GDP growth, and that’s what all the speakers were talking about GDP, GDP, GDP. It was like a mantra.
“Apparently, President Modi came to each economic sector, analysed their economic contribution and set targets, and they’re all committed to these targets.
Last year, Van Wyk had the chance to interact with Gauteng MEC Jacob Mamabolo at CIBA’s Practice Management Conference.
“I shared this experience of mine with the MEC, and our conversation started. He already had a strong idea about working more closely with business, so it was like a natural fit.”
Bringing CFOs and the public sector together under one roof
This seed has now germinated into a launch event, which will take place on the 11th of September between experts, CFOs and the MEC.
“We’ve invited about 80 CFOs, who were carefully selected… We want to get their buy-in. After that, we [will have] a workshop or a planning session where we will share our challenges, ideas, innovations and requests.
“We then hope to follow this up monthly, where we will go and meet as a CFO community with the Gauteng government per sector, similar to what they’ve been doing in India, and then see if we can generate a little bit of a competition amongst CFOs to see which company will be able to generate the most contribution to GDP or which sector… culminating, at the end of next year, with an award ceremony.”
Focusing behind the Highveld
Van Wyk also wants CFOs to think beyond South Africa’s boundaries in their search for growth.
“We also need to start focusing on external factors. Sometimes, if you do that, then your local issues can be resolved. We want to move the focus of the CFO towards Africa.
Van Wyk points out that Africa’s population is, on average, young, and the continent is ripe for development. He references recent gas finds in Namibia, which may drastically increase the country’s GDP, as an example of where opportunities lie.
“I think all economists agree that with our high debt and high-interest payments, the only way to get out of that is to increase local economic development and production within the country.
“Maybe a more cost-efficient way would be to start trading actively and aggressively within Africa and participate in these infrastructure development projects. With that, you would generate GDP for your local economy.”