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
Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
China appears to have been routinely underestimating output from its sprawling steel sector, with official figures for last year alone 40-million tonnes below a key industry estimate - an amount equivalent to Germany's entire annual production.
Beijing has vowed to...
Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp will suspend operations at its Lumwana copper mine, in Zambia’s Northwestern province, after the country enacted legislation that raised the royalty rate on openpit mining operations from 6% to 20%.
TSX- and NYSE-listed Barrick, the world’s...
The Labour Court in Johannesburg has set aside the 2011-2014 metal sector wage agreement, the National Employers' Association of SA (Neasa) said on Thursday.
The 2011-2014 wage deal was the result of an agreement between the Steel and Engineering Industries...
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
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.
This Week's Magazine
South Africa remains an important manufacturing and export platform for Ford Motor Company, says executive chairperson Bill Ford. However, he adds that other countries on the continent are “becoming interesting”, and that the US carmaker is casting its net wider for...
TO BE PHASED INTO SERVICE The first MeerKAT dish, with another 63 to come
Germany’s Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPlfR) are investing €11-million (about R150-million) into South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array programme. The money will be used to design, build and install S-band radio...
Infrastructure spend in sub-Saharan Africa will grow from $70-billion in 2013 to $180-billion by 2025, says PwC capital projects and infrastructure Africa leader Jonathan Cawood. This is one of the findings of PwC’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure report on East...
Private-owned defence and aerospace manufacturer Paramount Group and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation unveiled its Anti-Poaching Skills and K9 Training Academy in Magaliesburg last month.
Wireless networks should enable users to engage and must provide relevant information to them based on their activity and location
The inclusion of Bluetooth to provide sub-three meter accuracy and heightened functionality for users is one of the ways to change existing wireless networks into engagement networks. An engagement network differs from common wireless networks in that it enables the...