Adri Senekal de wet the Executive Editor at Independent Media Business Report.
CAPE TOWN - I want to wish our loyal readers a truly happy new year. Team Business Report (BR) declared 2018 as the year of happiness and hope among ourselves. We will continue to offer in-depth, thoroughly researched and inspirational content to our readers via all our national platforms, in print and online.

BR experienced an extremely successful 2017. We launched various initiatives, such as BR Ignite, where we hosted events to unite business leaders, government and the media. We launched a series of products in print and online, such as Investment Insight, the Infonomist, Boardroom Briefs and Trusts-to-Trust, among others.

The encouraging feedback I received from readers and the strong growth in advertising income convinced me that good news can, indeed, sell.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2017, I found myself sitting opposite Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

I grasped the opportunity to explain my vision for BR to a man who knows more than a little about business. I pledged that BR would focus on uplifting reporting and analysis, that we will measure the successful implementation of the National Development Plan, that we are partners with business and government in the creation and retention of jobs, and that we would prioritise the good story of entrepreneurs and awaken the desire of people to take pride in the establishment and growth of their own enterprises. He was enthused and supportive.

I look forward to updating Ramaphosa on the substantial progress that BR has achieved when I see him again in Davos next week. I hope he will be happy.

I want to salute Ramaphosa for delivering an outstanding January 8 Statement as the newly elected president of the ANC.

He delivered a statement of hope at a time when the majority of South Africans are not happy. State capture, poor service delivery, poverty and corporate corruption can partly be blamed for our generally unhappy society.

He also displayed another of his talents when he rebuffed a quote by President Zuma, who said “the buffalo will address you”. Ramaphosa is known for his effective employment of animal metaphors. In that spirit I say: Remember the buffalo is a dangerous animal, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers

On a happier note

The first World Happiness Report was published in April 2012, in support of the UN High-level Meeting on Happiness and Well-being.

Since then the world has come a long way. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy.

In June 2016, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development committed itself “to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the centre of governments’ efforts”.

In February 2017, the United Arab Emirates held a World Happiness meeting, as part of the World Government Summit.

Norway tops the global happiness rankings for 2017, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch.

The top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance. Their averages are so close that small changes can reorder the rankings from year to year.

Norway moves to the top of the ranking despite weaker oil prices. It is sometimes said that Norway achieves and maintains its high happiness, not because of its oil wealth, but in spite of it, the report states.

By choosing to produce its oil slowly, and investing the proceeds for the future rather than spending them in the present, Norway has insulated itself from the boom-and-bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies.

To do this successfully requires high levels of mutual trust, shared purpose, generosity and good governance, all factors that help to keep Norway and other top countries where they are in the happiness rankings.

All the other countries in the top 10 also have high values in all six of the key variables used to explain happiness differences among countries and through time: income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust, with the latter measured by the absence of corruption in business and government.

The concept of national has already been indexed. The phrase "gross national happiness" was first coined by the fourth King of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in 1972 when he declared that “gross national happiness is more important than gross domestic product”.

The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing.

Since then, the idea of gross national happiness (GNH) has influenced Bhutan’s economic and social policy, and also captured the imagination of others far beyond its borders. In creating the GNH Index, Bhutan sought to create a measurement tool that would be useful for policy-making and create policy incentives for the government, NGOs and businesses of Bhutan to increase GNH.

The GNH Index includes both traditional areas of socio-economic concern, such as living standards, health and education, and less traditional aspects of culture and psychological wellbeing. It is a holistic reflection of the general wellbeing of the Bhutanese population rather than a subjective psychological ranking of happiness alone.

The criteria of the index are constructed by the use of data such as measures of:

Psychological wellbeing;



Time use;

Cultural diversity and resilience;

Good governance;

Community vitality;

Ecological diversity and resilience;

Living standards.

Team BR enjoins our fellow citizens to surf the powerful happiness wave. We South Africans have the skills. We have the courage. We have the resilience. Let’s be happy again.

Adri Senekal de Wet is the executive editor of Business Report.