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Southern Africa (1321)

In June, South Africa’s public protector announced there would be a new investigation into the #GuptaLeaks allegations of corruption at the highest levels of government. It’s a symptom of South Africa’s broader problems.
The Kingdom of Lesotho is a country of extremes: breath-taking beauty and widespread poverty. It’s classified by the UN as one of the least developed countries in the world.
The World Economic Forum on Africa met on 3-5 May in Durban, and discussions included the need to enhance nations’ development through technological advancement.
When it comes to the economic reputation of a country are credit rating agencies (CRAs) part of the problem or part of the solution? This question has received increasing focus since the 2008 financial crisis, particularly in light of the impact these agencies’ ratings can have on already vulnerable countries by affecting their ability to access capital markets and, importantly, foreign direct investment.
'Our transformation will be built through economic participation, partnerships and mobilisation of all our capacities.' said ex-Minister Pravin Gordhan, during his 2017/18 budget speech. At the heart of Gordhan’s proposed strategies to further inclusive economic development, with the help of the private sector, lies the potential of South Africa’s cities to stop dividing people and instead act as the agents of transformative economic growth. It is here, in cities, that South Africa has the opportunity to break the patterns that have led to its current inequalities, by, for example, rethinking urban planning to address unemployment, economic exclusion and marginalisation. But…
With the passing of struggle stalwart Ahmed “Uncle Kathy” Kathrada this week, we are freshly reminded of his legacy in the anti-apartheid movement as well as that of other struggle heroes who fought for freedom. Among them are ANC President Oliver Reginald Tambo and Steve Bantu Biko, the liberation activist murdered by security police 40 years ago, both of whom were commemorated on human rights day last month.
On 3 April the sword that had been dangling over our heads for the last two years finally came down – South Africa was downgraded by S&P Global to sub-investment grade with a negative outlook. But we may be in ‘good’ company. We have joined both Brazil and Russia in the junk status club. However, our rand-denominated debt is still two notches above sub-investment level, albeit with a negative outlook. As most of our debt is rand-rather than dollar-denominated this is a silver lining.
In a midnight press-release, President Zuma announced the results of his latest cabinet reshuffle, that predictably included the sacking of the country’s revered Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.
Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, argues that the single most important challenge facing humanity today is how to understand and shape the new technology revolution. What exactly is this revolution, and why does it matter, especially for Africa?
In his oration at Nelson Mandela’s official burial ceremony in December 2013, Uncle Kathy as Ahmed Kathrada was affectionately known, said that his friend had joined “the A-team” of the ANC, which included Chief Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Helen Joseph and Bram Fischer among others. Now the 87-year-old activist and struggle veteran has also left us to join them in a place that is more serene and less fraught than life on earth. 
The recurring xenophobic violence is no new matter in South Africa. In 2006 an assessment on South Africa's state of democracy by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), urged the government to address the perception that migrant workers are unfair competition for locals.
Monday, 27 February 2017

The Future of Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe turned 93 last week, making him both one of the oldest and longest-serving presidents on the continent.
In February 2015, South Africa experienced an upsurge of xenophobic attacks throughout the country.  In response to this horrendous act, SAIIA Chief Executive, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, wrote this article and former senior researcher Tjiurimo Hengari wrote a related paper on the subject ‘Xenophobia Trivialises South Africa’s Ambitious Africa Policy’. Earlier this week the violent acts flared up again in Pretoria West. The institute again calls for an end to the violence and the stereotyping of certain groups as more crime-prone than others. South Africa must address the ‘demon’ of xenophobia and violence once and for all if it is to remain…
The South African Institute of International Affairs, Western Cape Branch cordially invites you to a Speaker's meeting to be addressed by Elizabeth Aardenburg

SAIIA Policy Briefing No 159, January 2017

SAIIA Western Cape Branch cordially invites you to a Speaker's meeting to be addressed by The Executive Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille on 'The Role of Cities in International Relations - with specific reference to Cape Town.
There is an increasing global demand for food, water and energy. All three are inter-linked, a fact that has increasingly become the focus of attention for policy makers and governments.
On December 15 2015, President Jacob Zuma assented to the controversial Protection of Investment Act when much of the South African public was on a festive holiday break. This piece of legislation is meant to replace the bilateral investment treaties that SA terminated in 2012, resulting in consternation and outcry from the international investment community based in the country.
The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has released a new book that questions which energy transformations are under way in the G20, a group of twenty nations that represent 85% of the global economy. SAIIA’s Agathe Maupin has contributed to this publication, focusing on South Africa’s energy challenges and the key lessons that could be derived from the G20 German presidency.
It is expected that temperatures in Southern Africa will rise to between 1.5°C and 3°C due to climate change by the year 2050. This is likely to cause heavy fluctuations of weather patterns and more frequent severe weather events like droughts and floods. Agriculture will be severely affected.
Sponsored by the Australian Government, SAIIA and the Institute for International Trade Australia hosted a one-day workshop on Harnessing Gender for Inclusive Trade Workshop.
Lesotho is facing challenges in financing its Queen Mamohato Hospital which costs USD$67 million a year and represents half of the country’s meagre health budget.
Ratings agencies will again this week consider South Africa’s sovereign credit rating. Ratings agencies have indicated that South Africa’s economic growth needs to be at least 1%, up from the current rate of between 0.5 – 0.9%, in order to off a downgrade to ‘junk’ status. Last month, Minister Pravin Gordhan made some bold claims about infrastructure spending in his mid-term budget speech.
SAIIA and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) hosted a Policy Dialogue, to revisit the investment climate in Southern Africa, with a particular focus on Tanzania.

SAIIA Policy Briefing 153, November 2016

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