When US President Donald Trump announced that he would ask Congress to impose a 25% tariff on more than 1,300 Chinese imports amounting to an export value of US$50 billion, the world held its breath for signs of a full-blown trade war between the world’s largest economies.
China’s decision to suspend presidential term limits is still reverberating around the world. The announcement, made after a vote by China’s parliament in March, prompted some commentators to draw comparisons with “third termism” in Africa, when leaders flout democratic conventions to stay in power as long as possible.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently completed his first official tour of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region since becoming South Africa’s fifth president, visiting Angola, Botswana and Namibia.
It’s a familiar sight at border posts: women with baskets groaning under the weight of fresh produce, cheap manufactured goods or handicrafts ready to be traded on the other side.
South Africa’s 2019 general elections will be a critical moment for democracy as the country welcomes a post-Zuma future. Equally important is the impact of his presidency on South Africa’s international standing. This piece will reflect on South Africa’s foreign policy under President Zuma - exploring the direction and key achievements and shortcomings/failures during his tenure. To what extent has South Africa’s foreign policy in the Zuma administration responded to domestic and continental needs?
The lesson of a decade’s state capture in South Africa may be that citizens and organised civil society should not limit active participation in political processes only to election time, and institutions are only as good as the people who respect them in letter and in spirit.
Jacob Zuma has resigned as South Africa’s president – an inevitable move, following the African National Congress’ withdrawal of its support. Two decades after Nelson Mandela tried – and failed – to pass the presidency to Cyril Ramaphosa, the former deputy president and current ANC head has become South Africa’s leader. And the challenges that Ramaphosa will face are almost as daunting as those Mandela confronted in lifting his country from the ruins of apartheid.
With Bitcoin volatility making daily headlines, even those living in the technological ‘Dark Ages’ are realising that the future is digital. Financial transactions, communication and administrative tasks are in cyberspace more often than in the real world. Most people cannot function without their social media, banking and communications apps.
In the Americas, when a young Latina girl turns 15, she celebrates her fiesta de quinceañera, a coming of age ceremony. Across the Atlantic Ocean, Africa’s most important governance self-evaluation and promotion instrument – the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) – will also officially turn 15 on 9 March 2018. These milestone birthdays are important occasions to reflect, but more importantly to look forward. As the APRM gets ready to smash open the piñata, SAIIA looks at what happened at the recent APRM meetings on the side-lines of the AU Summit in dusty, bustling Addis Ababa, and asks what lies ahead for the mechanism?
Hot on the heels of Davos, the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba provides an opportunity for the new ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to send the right signals to the local mining industry and civil society to renew confidence in the sector. South Africa’s mining industry remains a critical component of the economy; a potential flywheel for upstream manufacturing, downstream beneficiation, and horizontal spillovers. If we are to address the problems of youth unemployment, poverty and inequality, due attention must be paid to reviving the mining industry. Doing so will also have positive latent effects on the health of South Africa’s political economy.
One of the enduring images of 2017 was US President Donald J. Trump, a few months into his tenure, squinting bare-eyed at a solar eclipse. During his first year in power, Africa was in a similar position, watching while his presidency slowly blocked out the superpower behind him.
The revitalisation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is evidence of African governments’ renewed commitment to strengthening good governance, development and democracy in Africa. The APRM will be celebrating its 15th Anniversary on 9 March 2018, after a vibrant revival in 2016-2017, marked by Country Review missions in Chad, Djibouti, Kenya, Senegal, Sudan, Liberia, and the recent Uganda Review Mission in 2017.
President Jacob Zuma became ANC president and later president of South Africa when the full impact of the 2008 global financial crisis hit. We experienced our first post-apartheid era recession and an unemployment rate of 24.9%.
As institutions mature, they should take stock to gear themselves for the future. Led by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, a process is under way at the African Union (AU) to do just that. How might this this reform drive affect the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the continent’s voluntary governance promotion and assessment instrument?
The fall of Robert Mugabe has dominated global coverage of Africa over the past few weeks. In Western coverage of the first week after the coup in Zimbabwe there was speculation about what China knew beforehand and whether Beijing played an active role in pushing for it.
Youth and migration will be central to discussions between African and European heads of state at the upcoming AU-EU Summit from 28 to 29 November in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
Botswana is a sanctuary for rhinos and elephants in a region that is experiencing a poaching crisis. The country’s law enforcement and anti-poaching strategies are more effective than South Africa’s. A 2017 report by the Institute for Security Studies finds that Botswana’s ‘militarised responses effectively reduce poaching’ through a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy. The authors note the moral reservations of such a policy but forcefully argue that its deterrent effect accounts for Botswana’s relative success in the region, given that most other anti-poaching techniques are highly similar.
The sexual abuse and exploitation of women – in war and peacetime – is one of the most widespread and overlooked phenomena. Frequently exposed to violence and sexual exploitation by armed combatants, women and children have throughout history, been kidnapped, raped and forced into work or to fight on the frontline for causes that are not their own. Only since the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda has sexual violence come to be regarded as an international crime, a crime against humanity and, therefore, a grave infraction of the Geneva Conventions.