Miller Matola, CEO Brand South Africa - That we undoubtedly live in a time of global economic upheaval is not in doubt, nor is the fact that South Africa is far from immune from the buffeting of these negative economic winds. The recent strikes that have hit the mining and transportation sectors, combined with the country's downgrade by several rating agencies, and the subsequent negative media coverage, are all testament to this. It is all too easy during challenging times to look at South Africa in a purely negative light and to view the country's socio economic outlook in an environment of only 'doom and gloom'. However, perspective is needed, together with recognition that it is imperative for the long-term socio-economic good of the country to ensure that our nation brand is protected and its reputation on the global stage safeguarded. The message that needs to be sent to the world during difficult global economic times is that South Africa is very much open for business and able to compete effectively in the global marketplace.