New elements of Africa Rising hucksterism emerged at this year’s World Economic Forum in Kigali, including a child-like fascination with “Fourth Industrial Revolution cyber-physical systems” that will supposedly allow Africa to leapfrog the world, indeed to “lead...read more
New elements of Africa Rising hucksterism emerged at this year’s World Economic Forum in Kigali, including a child-like fascination with “Fourth Industrial Revolution cyber-physical systems” that will supposedly allow Africa to leapfrog the world, indeed to “lead the way”, because the continent is “the world’s fastest growing digital consumer market.” Reality check: fewer than one in three Africans have home electricity, and just one in five use the internet.
South African society’s conflict with a mainstay of the country’s corporate economy – resource extraction – is permanently on display in the platinum, gold and coalfields in the north and north-east of the country.
The unprecedented contagion of what President Zuma has called ‘gossip and rumour’ around his inner circle threatens the internal stability of the Pretoria regime. The loyalty of many key individuals is being tested. Indeed the ANC’s schizophrenia was amplified recently Zuma himself finally agreed to repay some of the $16 million spent on upgrading his rural palace, Nkandla.
Despite abundant evidence of pro-corporate bias, the Bank endorses the government’s “sound policy” on redistribution because Bank researchers cannot grapple with the core problem that best explains why South African capitalism causes poverty and inequality: extreme exploitation systems amplified after apartheid by neoliberal policies.
Behind the current capitalist crisis lies the tendency to over-accumulate and generate gluts. Whereas the BRICS bloc’s elites pretend to be offering an alternative, they in fact are trying very hard to make the world system work for their own corporates. Of course with little success.
During the China-Africa meeting in South Africa last month, where China pledged $60 billion for Africa’s industrialization, the hype continued about the Asian giant’s beneficial role in the continent. But the truth is that China has undermined Africa’s development for nearly 30 years now.
Paris witnessed both explicit terrorism by religious extremists on November 13 and, a month later, implicit terrorism by carbon addicts negotiating a world treaty that guarantees catastrophic climate change. The first incident left more than 130 people dead in just one evening’s mayhem; the second lasted a fortnight but over the next century can be expected to kill hundreds of millions, especially in Africa.
Regardless of the reality of carbon trading contradictions, if policy continues to favour corporate strategies, an even greater speculative bubble in carbon finance can be anticipated in the next few years.
What started with rejection of the statue of a Dutch colonialist in Cape Town fast expanded to nationwide student protests against a racist, colonialist and classist education system that denies many South Africans the right to study. President Zuma finally respondend and turned an intended increase in tution into a 6 per cent cut for 2016, but this can only be a beginning.
Despite happy noises made by the World Bank, status quo economists and other commentators, South Africa remains one of the most unequal countries in the world. A policy of growth-through-redistribution is certainly needed.