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Hi Phakamani Friends,

We hope and pray that you are keeping well in these VUCA times.  When I recently first heard the term “VUCA” I had no idea what it meant.  When I researched it, I found that it is an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Naturally I assumed that the term was coined to explain the global environment following the COVID pandemic.  In fact, according to Wikipedia, the term was “first used in 1987, drawing on the leadership theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, to describe or to reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations.  The U.S. Army War College introduced the concept of VUCA to describe the more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous multilateral world perceived as resulting from the end of the Cold War”.  Interestingly, the word VUKA in Zulu means wake up.

There is some comfort in knowing that “VUCA” circumstances are not new, and that we can mitigate their impact through anticipating, understanding, and preparing for any eventualities.  Our QA processes and operations management teams enable us to collect data from clients on an ongoing basis and we are looking to implement additional client feedback mechanisms over the year ahead.  We trust that by staying close to our clients we can proactively mitigate any adverse trends.

It has been a tough year for our clients.  Our statistics show that client business valuations declined in 2020 and showed only slow growth in 2021 and 2022.  Larger loans are producing lower business valuations than prior to the pandemic as clients find it difficult to increase their prices at the same rate as increases to their input costs.  While this is a sad reality, it is pleasing to see that the trend has turned, and we pray that this positive growth will continue.  Our client’s resilience and agility in responding to changing conditions is again evident in how they have diversified their businesses to stay profitable and meet the needs of their communities.

June saw the end of our 2022 financial year and we grateful to all who contributed to Phakamani through funding, time, and prayer.  Our external financial audit begins this month, and we are confident that we will break-even or show a small surplus for the year.  This would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors in the United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa; distributions from the Phakamani Trust; and grant funding from the Jobs Fund.

Four new branches were opened in the Eastern Cape in July / August 2022, taking us to 55 branches nationally.

In July we disbursed our 100 000th group loan representing around 550 000 client loans disbursed and more than 166 000 individual women entrepreneurs served.  This is an awesome achievement, and we thank God for his faithful provision.  We are also grateful to Mark and Shirley for their vision 14+ years ago which remains unchanged.

God bless,

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