Africa likely to see shift in politics after economic crisis – analyst
Africa|Frontier Advisory|Africa|Central African Republic|Chad|Guinea|Sudan|Uganda|Siphamandla Zond|Zondi
© Reuse this
Although the most pressing signs of the global economic meltdown seems to be ebbing, the political impact of the downturn on Africa would only be seen at a later stage, said the Institute for Global Dialogue (IDG) on Tuesday.
Speaking at an event hosted by research and strategy company Frontier Advisory, IDG political analyst Siphamandla Zondi said that the recent economic crisis was the largest threat to Africa’s long-term political and economic ambitions in the last few decades.
“Since the start, we have been saying that the economic impact of the global financial crisis has been slow in appearing on the African continent, partly because the African continent is not sufficiently integrated into the global economy to feel the ripple effect of the crisis,” Zondi stated.
However, he argued that it was this delayed economic impact that would see a slow and subtle shift in African politics. “I am warning that the impact that is happening will be subtle, it will be below the radar, and if we are not very cautious or very observant, we may not see it happen.”
The slowdown in the economy would have a three-fold impact on the African continent, the first of which would be a decline in export earnings. The second hit would come in the form of a reduction in private capital inflows into Africa, as donor countries would support their own economies, rather than exporting currency to Africa.
Zondi noted that the economic meltdown would also leave a lasting impression on the social fabric of African communities, as the crisis would require structural reforms and institutional support, both of which would have to be established at a grass-roots level.
“There is another area of impact: the political dynamics which are going to arise on the continent, born out of a combination of economic and social crisis,” Zondi noted.
In the decade between 1989 and 1999, the African continent experienced a wave of democratisation, during which 34 African countries moved towards democracy, and civil uprisings on the continent were limited.
However, Zondi noted that before the global economic downturn hit, there was a reversal of the democratic wave. “There was a counter wave in a number of countries and it took various forms. One of this was what we call garrison democracies, where the democracy is driven by an elite and is designed to attract donor investment, and to ward off pressure and scrutiny from those that are concerned for democracy.”
Zondi added that in other cases, this counter wave led to democratic dictatorships, or dictatorships that were only democratic in form, but not in substance.
There was also a resurgence in the number of conflicts across the continent, especially in countries such as Guinea, Northern Uganda, the Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan.
“What I think is going to happen is that when this financial crisis deepens in Africa, it is going to accentuate these problems,” Zondi noted.
He added that the initial transition to democracy had remained fragile, as the institutional architecture required for the transition to be ingrained, had not been developed yet, but had merely been led by the goodwill of a few leaders. Once these leaders changed, the transition to democracy was halted, or reversed.
“The institutional architecture was not strengthened enough before the crisis, to help see us through to what the impact of the crisis will be, and for that reason the economic crisis will accentuate the negative general political happenings, and it may negatively impact [on] Africa’s international relations, it may slowdown the peace process as well as the rate of Africa’s integration.
“It is happening right now, as countries move their attention from a common continental agenda to their own national agenda. As a result, we may actually miss an opportunity to take advantage of the spaces that the economic crisis has created, especially the policy spaces where we would be able to redefine and to re-engage the global order.”
Edited by: Mariaan Webb
© Reuse this
Other Macro and Micro News
Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana
Operation Phakisa is expected to place marine resources central in the economy, says Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Senzeni Zokwana. Operation Phakisa is aimed at fast-tracking the delivery of the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan...
Eskom’s appointment of former mining executive Mike Rossouw on a one-year, extendable assignment appears to be closely associated with Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown’s appeal for “extraordinary” steps to be taken to deal with the “unsatisfactory”...
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has once again lowered its 2014 growth forecast for South Africa to 1.7%, having previously forecast that Africa’s second-largest economy would expand by 2.3%.
The 0.6% downward revision, which is contained in the World...
Responding in writing to a recent Parliamentary question by the Democratic Alliance, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has provided an update for each of the country’s 13 bus-rapid transport (BRT) systems, noting that each network is at a different stage of...
The South African Real Estate Investment Trust (SA Reit) Association has called on the Competition Commission to intervene in undesirable exclusivity clauses in retail leases that were allowing retailers to stifle market share. The association’s members, which...
University of Witwatersrand vice-chancellor and principal Adam Habib
The first of a series of 15 public debates exploring options for the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) was officially inaugurated at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) School of Governance this week. In association with the Oliver and...
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
Multinational semiconductor chipmaker corporation Intel announced its national campaign to further acquire partners to drive its She Will Connect programme, an initiative that aims to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries, further into...
South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope array programme should get back on schedule within a few months. This assurance has been given by SKA South Africa (SKA SA) associate director: science and technology Prof Justin Jonas. Early last month, Science and Technology...
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) Metrorail service will remain a subsidised service following its current multibillion-rand rolling stock, station, depot and signalling upgrade programme. PRASA group CEO Lucky Montana has allayed fears that...
Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will open the door for court battles to determine who will be held liable for the remediation
The uncertainties around the remediation of affected areas as addressed in the Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will possibly spark litigation and disputes between landowners and businesses, contractors...
South Africa is currently the largest component of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) active portfolio in Southern Africa, comprising 62.5% of the bank’s $7.9-billion exposure to the 12-country region – the second largest beneficiary is Mauritius, which...