Credit Suisse issued their second Global Wealth Report recently. They report that "global wealth increased from USD195-trillion in 2010 to USD-231 trillion in 2011, led by growing wealth in South Africa, India, Australia, Chile and Singapore". They claim that their report covers all of the world’s adult citizens (estimated at 4.5-billion in 2011) and all of the world’s wealth. The report aims to provide a comprehensive global portrait of household wealth covering the whole spectrum of wealth holders from rich to poor, and examining in detail the level and patterns across countries and regions.
So, how are we doing in good old South Africa?
Household net worth or "wealth" is defined as the value of financial assets plus real assets (principally housing) owned by individuals, less their debts.
Credit Suisse claims that their figures are obtained by applying cutting-edge techniques to data derived from a great variety of sources (methodology available in the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook). In South Africa there is significant information available from the South African Advertising Research Foundation and Household Survey data.
Why do this?
Wealth is one of the key components of the economic system. It is valued as a source of finance for future consumption, especially in retirement, and for reducing vulnerability to shocks like unemployment, ill-health and natural disasters. Wealth also enhances opportunity for the informal sector and entrepreneurial activities, when used either directly or as collateral for loans.
Credit Suisse notes that "notable cases of emerging wealth are found in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Chile, Turkey and South Africa". South Africa is one of the "high" countries when it comes to annual wealth growth.
Article continues on page two, three and four: annual wealth growth rates by country and reflections on poverty in South Africa...