The 2019 elections coincide with an important milestone in South Africa’s history: it is also the 25th anniversary of the country’s first ever democratically-held elections. The country is approaching these elections in the wake of some shocking reports of state corruption and graft reaching to the highest offices of leadership. Continuing high levels of poverty and unemployment, skewed development, lack of progress on transformation and stagnant growth have all dampened enthusiasm for the upcoming polls.
South Africa will hold its sixth elections since its transition to democracy 25 years ago. The elections take on added significance in the corrosive aftermath of nine years under former president Jacob Zuma. This period undermined the embryonic foundations of constitutional rule through a destructive “state capture” project, with widespread systemic corruption, fraud, and abuse of power as the main manifestations.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) still holds power in a nearly hegemonic way. Nevertheless, the popularity of the party is decreasing while economic and social inequalities are deeply entrenched in the country.
In December 2017, the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as head of the African National Congress (ANC) during the 54th National Conference of the party was hailed by international analysts and financial markets as the beginning of the return of South Africa, Africa's second largest economy, to business and investor-friendly policies. At the same conference, however, the ANC also approved a document committing the government to support an amendment to the 1996 constitution to allow the state to expropriate land without having to pay compensation to owners.
This study is an initiative of the ISPI’s Centre on Infrastructure, promoted with the knowledge partnership of McKinsey & Company. It analyses the importance of economic infrastructure and how to finance and develop it. Economic infrastructure is the backbone that, in many cases, crosses the borders of political geo- graphy and defines the space supporting the movement of goods, services, people and their ideas.
Eighteen years after the first ground-breaking Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC, 2000), launched to officialise and institutionalize China’s relations with Africa, Beijing hosted – on 2-4 September 2018 - 50+ African heads of state/government and international actors during the 7th event of the series. Throughout these past 18 years, the global status and role of China and individual African countries changed dramatically.
The EU is struggling to cope with the so-called “migration crisis” that has emerged over the past few years. Designing the right policies to address immigration requires a deep understanding of its root causes. Why do Africans decide to leave their home countries? While the dream of a better life in Europe is likely part of the explanation, one also needs to examine the prevailing living conditions in the large and heterogeneous sub-Saharan region.
This background note was presented at the High Level Panel on "G7 & Africa" held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rome, 5 May 2017.
What does innovation mean for Africa today?
Within the organizational machine of the G7, G7 engagement groups are the form in which the G7 Presidency by interacting with the civil society builds trust with its citizens on their issues of concern. The African focus the Italian G7 Presidency gave to this year’s Think Tank Summit has specific reasons. Development of the African continent is a cross-cutting theme for the Italian Presidency and many African leaders have been invited to the forthcoming G7 Summit in Taormina for a G7 outreach session specifically devoted to innovation.
Has the new South Africa – once an inspiring “rainbow nation” – failed the expectations it had generated? Is the country now in a crisis?
Two decades after the end of the apartheid regime, Africa’s southernmost state faces multiple political, economic and social challenges.
A lackluster growth performance is compounded by mounting corruption and political turbulence, as well as by the frustration of many ordinary citizens who expected much more rapid social and economic improvement.
Labour strikes, student protests and anti-immigrant riots have all been on the rise. As a clear sign of increasing dissatisfaction, uncertainty and decline, the ruling African National Congress recently ran into its worst electoral result ever – if still only at local levels.
Meanwhile, Jacob Zuma’s embattled presidency, marred by allegations of corruption and political cronyism, sent South Africa’s international image plummeting alongside the Rand, the national currency.
This volume sheds light on the current difficulties and discusses future prospects. The “new” South Africa is a country in dire need for change.