Dear Valued Spanish Chamber Member
The last couple of years have been like no other we have experienced, and this Chamber went into high gear to support all its members and shine a light on them in the wake of troubling times.
It is inconceivable that during our lifetime a virus called COVID-19 radically and precipitously changed the world we live in and brought economies to a devastating standstill!
Looking back over the past two years – I find it unbelievable that most countries around the world have gone into lockdown, and that the movement of people is governed by alert levels, social distancing, and the wearing of face masks. What we thought only happens in movies has now become the norm for all of us!
Businesses have had to learn to quickly adapt to constantly changing regulations at the different alert levels. We have had no option but to embrace remote and flexible working environments and we have had to find ways to operate in a dynamical digital economy. Many businesses have had to reimagine and reinvent themselves to remain relevant.
We have further realised that for businesses to survive in this accelerated environment, inordinate resilience, agility, velocity, and out-of-the-box thinking is required to adjust operations as regulations and customer requirements keep changing.
As COVID-19 keeps metastasizing, many of us have had to re-examine our business models and come up with different strategies to maintain relevancy and ensure the day-to-day sustainability of our businesses.
Sadly, this pandemic has affected the mindset of human beings all around the world. The choices, which countries have made in responding to the crisis, will ultimately affect the lives of people for many decades to come.
COVID-19 has highlighted the massive economic gaps within societies. It has uncovered rampant corruption and underlying weaknesses in both governments and businesses around the world. These challenges appear insurmountable. Nevertheless, if there is anything we have learnt, it is that humans are resourceful and that it is possible to change.
According to Mahatma Gandhi “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Hence, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders from government, civil society, and business, to commit to being a part of the change and solution for economic recovery of our world.
However, we cannot do this on our own -- we all need to collaborate, now more than ever before, to ensure our mutual survival and ultimate success.
As we close 2021, I would like to extend my appreciation to all our members, and the SCC Team, for their persistence and commitment to continuing to drive the priorities of our members’ business. Last but not least, to my fellow Board Members – I would like to thank you for volunteering your time.
Wishing you and your loved ones well over the festive season and may you return to 2022 refreshed and recharged to take on the challenges and opportunities which will present themselves.
Jose Maria Segurola Arregui
President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in South Africa