It is December again – time to wish our readers a wonderful festive season and say thank you for your support during the past year. Another year has rushed by and I hope it was a good one for you. For South Africa it was a very turbulent and rather frustrating one with the missing political leadership and the Steinhoff saga.

For IBN it was an eventful one.

A true milestone was achieved with the purchase of GK Consultancy in Namibia in June 2017. After having our own office in Windhoek for about one year, we were able to add very experienced staff and great clients to our business there. 6 months after the merger I have to say that we learned and are still learning daily invaluable lessons how to manage and assist an office in another country. We did underestimate the complexity it adds and the resources such a purchase requires, travelling costs, time to oversee and in particular to build capacity are just a few examples. However, I am convinced that we will have a strong office there in 2018 thanks to the efforts of our Teri Anne Hermans in Cape Town and all our staff in Namibia.

Another important development we saw is that our Africa outbound department is really taking off and we were able to secure a few large corporate clients who keep us busy. We started this project about 3 years ago and it has really added a very interesting new dimension to our business. The daily engagement with our local partners in various African countries adds a true connection to our continent.

It also serves as a welcome hedge against the rather flat volumes of inbound South African immigration. I think there are various reasons why multinationals do not bring as many expats into South Africa as a few years back, costs, employment equity and political uncertainty are the obvious ones. In my opinion this trend will not change. We predict that the inbound numbers will rather decrease except the economy would start growing significantly again and new investment will be attracted.

We also published the second edition of our immigration book on Africa “The corporate immigration guide to Africa” and it was very well received. We have added a few countries compared to the first edition. The publishing of the book every 2 years really forces us to update our knowledge on a regular base. We were also asked to contribute two chapters (South Africa and Kenya) to the leading corporate immigration book “The Corporate Immigration Review”, 7th edition.

Our Johannesburg office has further prospered and our Hans Kroll has done a great job in attracting some multinationals as new clients this year. The office in Johannesburg is now a vital contributor to growth.

On the social media side we were able to re-introduce our newsletter and received positive feedback for it, thank you. We also re-started the “We Made It!” stories, our interview series, were we share our clients’ success stories in South Africa. Which are really popular with our readers. We also started with our first two FacebookLive events and plan to continue this next year on a more regular base and hopefully also with a more stable fiber line.

The most important part was, is and will remain our clients and how they perceive our service. To make sure that we can constantly improve we introduced in late 2016 our customer surveys to ensure that our clients are very happy with the service received. An average NPS of 8 is proof. However, of course that does not mean that each case is handled to perfection. I can assure you however that we still try to see each and every case not as a file, but as one of the most significant steps you have undertaken in your recent past. We want to make a positive contribution to it and stand by our IBN vision.

So, despite 2017 being a rather turbulent year in South Africa, for us it was a good one. I hope it was also a good year for you. The IBN Team wishes a merry Christmas and a happy new year 2018. We would like to extend our very best wishes for a happy holiday season. Thank you for your valued support during 2017 and we look forward to connecting with you in 2018 again.

** PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED FOR THE FESTIVE PERIOD FROM 23 DECEMBER 2017 UNTIL 07 JANUARY 2018. WE WILL RESUME NORMAL OFFICE HOURS ON 08 JANUARY 2018.

Best regards,

Andreas Krensel