While we must wait for the final reckoning of most successful national coronavirus responses, it does still appear those countries with memories of MERS and SARS – such as Singapore, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, and South Korea – led the way in being best prepared for COVID-19, with strong contract tracing and isolation measures.
Experience of previous outbreaks informed the containment strategies adopted by countries in East Asia in response to COVID-19. Vietnam reported its first case of COVID-19 in January but, over the following four months with rapid targeted testing, contact tracing and successful containment, only around 300 additional cases with no deaths were confirmed.… Seguir leyendo »
As with any history, Chatham House has a long and complex one. Progress has come in fits and starts, sometimes driven by wider social change, but often led by individuals within the institute. When examining the institute’s work on Africa, five seminal moments from the history really stood out.
Lionel Curtis is credited as the founder of the institute, having proposed the idea at a meeting at the Hotel Majestic while attending the Treaty of Versailles talks.
Curtis served in South Africa during the Second Boer war and subsequent period of unification. He was one of the cohort of officials that served under Lord Milner, later dubbed ‘Milner’s Kindergarten’.… Seguir leyendo »
In the COVID-19 crisis so far, Cyril Ramaphosa has been widely praised for displaying the decisive leadership so many hoped for when they cast their ballot for him in May 2019. Buttressed by others such as health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, and on a simple objective to prevent transmission, South Africa has been a lesson to the world. Act fast. Act hard.
Former president Thabo Mbeki’s disastrous response to the HIV crisis cast a long shadow over his legacy, and Ramaphosa has taken note. South Africa has had one of the tightest lockdowns in the world. No exercise. No cigarettes. No alcohol.… Seguir leyendo »
Swapo’s victory in Namibia two weeks ago was the last in a series of recent ‘end of decade’ elections that have returned dominant parties to power across Southern Africa. However, the “enduring appeal of liberation” is wearing thin.
Experiences across the region show that if governments are to deliver on their electoral promises, they must empower institutions, actively promote a culture of accountability and transparency within their party ranks and pursue economic reforms that untangle the web of party-state-business alliances. Such actions are critical for the survival of national liberation movements as the dominant force in the politics of Southern Africa – but will be difficult to implement.… Seguir leyendo »
On 25 May, Cyril Ramaphosa will be inaugurated as president of South Africa, having dragged the African National Congress (ANC) over the line in the 8 May election. The ANC gained a 57 per cent majority, its lowest vote since 1994, its status as national liberator deeply eroded by successive corruption scandals. Only Ramaphosa’s personal popularity stopped it haemorrhaging more support.
His sustained action against corrupt public servants and promises of job-creating economic growth has attracted support from beyond the ANC’s base, including a significant minority of white voters, and generated significant international goodwill. Ramaphosa now has a short window of opportunity to reset social democracy in South Africa before the political cycle of municipal, party and national elections from 2021 to 2024 forces his attention back to party politics.… Seguir leyendo »
Ramaphosa ran for the leadership of the ANC on a platform of party renewal, economic recovery, and building the capacity of the state. But Jacob Zuma remains the President of South Africa and, under the constitution, can stay in office until elections in 2019. Therefore, meeting expectations on economic recovery will depend on Ramaphosa taking the presidency – and he has a number of political battles to face before that becomes reality.
To begin with, Ramaphosa and his supporters did not win a total victory at the elective conference. The presidency was only one position in the senior cadre – the co-called ‘top six’ – that was elected.… Seguir leyendo »
South Africa’s status as the ‘gateway to Africa’ is under serious threat. Its companies continue to flourish, but complex relationships at home and abroad constrain government capacity to match its economic dominance with political reach and influence.
South Africa’s policies towards the rest of the continent are often accused of being inconsistent and incoherent. It has been a development partner to the region and to international donors; a moral leader, championing human rights and exporting its own model of transition; and an advocate and representative for the continent in international forums. However, it has simultaneously been accused of exploiting its economic dominance at the expense of its neighbours; handicapped by the political debts owed by the ANC to other liberation movements for their assistance in the struggle; and criticized for its arrogance in seeking to position itself as the ‘legitimate’ voice of Africa.… Seguir leyendo »
This interview was conducted during the speaker’s visit to Chatham House for an expert roundtable on 23 January 2017.
What do you see as the trajectory for the historical and strategic trade and investment relationship between South Africa and the UK post-Brexit?
Our trade with the UK over the last three years has expanded, and there’s a small surplus in our favour. Of course there are opportunities to move further, but I think our first priority is to make sure there is no interruption. I think that the way our conversations have gone so far[…] is that the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that we have signed recently with the EU ought to be the basis on which we continue our relationship [with the UK], at least in the immediate future.… Seguir leyendo »
South Africa’s local election results have humiliated President Jacob Zuma—and for the first time since coming to power more than 20 years ago, the African National Congress (ANC) looks vulnerable.
But rather than a new dawn for South Africa, the elections look like the start of a new era of coalition government, policy compromise, party factionalism, and weak leadership that will stifle hopes of economic advancement ahead of the next national elections in 2019.
President Zuma has been chastened by the August 3 local elections. For the first time since the end of apartheid in 1994, support for the ANC has fallen below 60 percent, with the party gaining just 53.9 percent of the aggregate national vote (down from 61 percent in 2011).… Seguir leyendo »
The Africa National Congress (ANC) launched its manifesto for the local elections starting on 3 August at a poorly attended rally in Nelson Mandela Bay on 16 April. The ANC is hoping that its manifesto launch helps to unite the party as it faces the most contested election in urban areas since 1994. President Jacob Zuma highlighted past ANC successes and made promises of future delivery. But putting the leadership team on the same stage to promote unity does little to hide the cracks in the party.
These local elections promise to be a major test. Support for the party remains strong among the rural poor but the loyalty of urban voters is not guaranteed.… Seguir leyendo »