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The Q4 2018 GDP growth numbers are encouraging in light of the tough environment that we have just emerged from. Given that we came out of a technical recession in 2018, the turnaround to see positive growth for the full year is heartening. And while it may still not be enough to address many of our structural issues, the positive signs are likely to keep the rating agencies at bay.
Few currencies matched the rand’s turbulence in 2017, with factors such as Trumpenomics, the firing of finance minister Pravin Gordhan and the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president, contributing to the R2.04 price swing during the year.
Democracy Works explores how we can learn to nurture and deepen democracy in Africa to ensure economic growth and political stability. Making democracy work relies on much more than having free and fair elections. It depends on what happens between elections. It relies on the systems and institutions of government. Very importantly it hinges on what politicians want to do with the power they acquire, beyond the power itself.
Africa is one of the fastest urbanising regions in the world – and it is widely accepted that the rapid urbanisation of its burgeoning big cities will play a vital role in the continent’s continued growth and development.
Freedom is the most important human right. Over the years, people of all nationalities, races and cultures have always migrated from oppressive regimes to countries where they enjoy greater freedom. The most liberal countries – like South Africa on the African continent – attract the most refugees. Liberty gives meaning to human existence; it is what we yearned for when we were under the yoke of apartheid. We sought true freedom; not only civil liberty but also economic liberty.
South Africa’s economic future is inextricably linked to the broader efforts to create a cohesive and progressive society. Initiatives to stimulate key sectors of the economy and attract investment to ignite job-creating growth will not be successful if they are not accompanied by a parallel process to address lingering issues in society that inhibit nation building.