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  • Author: Brian Levy, Alan Hirsch, Vinothan Naidoo, Musa Nxele
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: South Africa's economic and social imbalances can no longer be swept under the rug. The country has three choices: muddle through, endure another surge of ethnopopulism, or pursue inclusive development. South Africa was one of the 1990s iconic cases of democratization. Yet starting in the mid-2000s, the country began to experience a disruptive collision between its strong political institutions and massive economic inequality. The collision intensified across the 2010s, resulting in economic stagnation and increasing threats to institutional integrity. Understanding why this collision occurred and worsened over time is relevant not just for other middle-income countries but also many higher-income democracies wrestling with similar tensions between a declining tolerance for high or rising inequality and institutions that seemed strong in the past but find their legitimacy increasingly being questioned. Ideally, ideas, institutions, and growth all reinforce one another in a virtuous developmental spiral. Ideas offer hope by encouraging cooperation and the pursuit of opportunities for win-win gains. Institutions assure that the bargains underpinning cooperation will be monitored and enforced. Together, ideas and institutions provide credible commitment, which fuels economic growth. However, such a benign scenario does not reckon with the ways in which persistent high inequality, accompanied by unresolved tensions between the distribution of economic and political power, can both put pressure on institutions and quickly change hope into anger. The result can be a cascading set of pressures and an accelerating downward spiral. For the first fifteen years of democracy, South Africa enjoyed the advantages of both effective institutions and a shared willingness of stakeholders believed in the power of cooperation. This enabled the country to move beyond counterproductive conflict and pursue win-win outcomes. Growth began to accelerate, which created new opportunities for expanding the middle class. Increased fiscal space made it possible to broaden access to public services and to social grants, which reduced absolute poverty. There were, however, some stark limitations in what was achieved. Gains for the poorest did little to alter their difficult economic and social realities. Less than a quarter of the total population, including essentially all white South Africans, enjoyed a standard of living that was middle class or better. There was ample reason for the majority of South Africans to feel that, notwithstanding the promises of mutual benefit, the deck remained stacked against them. This increased the vulnerability of South Africa’s political settlement.
  • Topic: Development, Inequality, Institutions
  • Political Geography: South Africa, Africa
  • Author: Saskia Brechenmacher, Caroline Hubbard
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Political parties around the world face a crisis in public confidence. Many citizens view them as inaccessible and unresponsive to their concerns. Parties pose specific challenges for women, who face both formal and informal barriers to participation, including opaque nomination procedures, violence, and parties with hypermasculine cultures. The formation of new parties during periods of political transition represents a potential opportunity to break these patterns. Transitions can be openings to transform the broader political, legal, and social barriers to an inclusive kind of politics. In these moments of flux, the development of new party branches and rules, as well as the renegotiation of broader institutional frameworks, can enable women and other marginalized groups to push for greater political representation within party structures. What factors influence the level of gender inclusion in processes of party development? This question is central for policymakers, advocates, and practitioners seeking to support inclusive democracy and gender equality in transitional societies and beyond. To shed light on this topic, this study investigates gender inclusion in three types of party formation that commonly unfold during political transitions: a social movement to a party (as exemplified by Ennahda in Tunisia); an armed movement to a party (as illustrated by the African National Congress [ANC] in South Africa); and a dominant party to a breakaway party (as shown by the Mouvement du Peuple pour le Progrès [MPP] in Burkina Faso).
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Women, Inequality, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Atif Choudhury, Yawei Liu, Ian Pilcher
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: In May 2020, the Carter Center’s China Program partnered with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) to organize a virtual workshop on Africa-U.S.-China cooperation on COVID-19 response. The workshop brought together a range of experts from the U.S, China, Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya, and South Africa to discuss the public health impact and wider policy implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the African continent. Emory University’s Global Health Institute and The Hunger Project also helped identify speakers and moderate panels.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, United States, China, Asia, South Africa, North America, Ethiopia, Burundi
  • Author: Jenny Tröltzsch, Nadine Gerner, Franziska Meergans, Ulf Stein, Robynne Sutcliffe
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: South Africa’s water legislation is recognised for its ambitious adoption of Integrated Water Resource Management. However, implementation is hindered by conflicting hierarchical and network-based governance styles and lack of coordination between western administration and traditional authority.
  • Topic: Natural Resources, Water, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Thando Vilakazi, Stefano Ponte
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Business and Development Studies (CBDS), Copenhagen Business School
  • Abstract: Power asymmetries in value chains mean that inequalities in returns, access to key resources and share of value added are reinforced and skewed against smaller players. Policies put in place to enforce market rules and ensure fairness can be ineffective in the context of entrenched market power, lack of competition, and high levels of control by lead firms over key resources and rights – necessitating different rules of the game to change the inequalities. Under these circumstances, transformation and economic participation of marginalized groups are unlikely to be achieved, with important socio-economic and political implications. South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies and competition laws target economic redress and inclusion of historically disadvantaged people in the ownership and control of economic activity and productive assets. BEE criteria have been embedded in a number of industry empowerment charters, a Broad-Based BEE Act and a series of codes of implementation. South Africa’s competition law is well-established and effectively implemented. Yet, the impacts of these instruments have been frustratingly limited and slow, especially in sectors where a few companies dominate. The paper draws on secondary sources and in-depth interviews with industry players in the South African Hake Deep Sea Trawl (HDST) fishery to examine the interactions between industrial fishery quota allocations by the government, BEE policy, and competition dynamics as they impact on allocation of finite access to national resource endowments. It shows that, even in one of the most regulated sectors of South Africa’s economy, large incumbents maintain a disproportionate amount of bargaining power vis-à-vis smaller players in HDST fishery, both upstream and downstream, and throughout the domestic and global value chains. We conclude that as long as rules protect incumbency, inequality will be sustained. Even where scale economies are at play, quota allocation, transformation and competition regulation should go hand in hand to facilitate the effective participation of black-owned businesses as competitors in the hake value chain.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Race, Economic Inequality, Economic Policy, Participation, Fishing, Value Chains
  • Political Geography: South Africa
  • Author: Andrew Weiss, Eugene Rumer
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Amid the widespread attention the Kremlin’s recent inroads in Africa have attracted, there has been surprisingly little discussion of South Africa, a country which, for nearly a decade, unquestionably represented Russia’s biggest foreign policy success story on the continent. As relations soared during the ill-starred presidency of Jacob Zuma (2009–2018), the Kremlin sought to wrest a geopolitically significant state out of the West’s orbit and to create a partnership that could serve as a springboard for expanded influence elsewhere in Africa. Moscow’s strategy was multifaceted, capitalizing on well-established close ties with Zuma, a former African National Congress senior intelligence official with extensive Soviet bloc connections. Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials pursued a series of initiatives, such as the inclusion of South Africa in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) grouping and the launch of ambitious forms of cooperation between state-backed energy interests primarily in the nuclear sector. Yet relations were undermined by the Kremlin’s propensity to overreach, to lean too heavily on the legacy of Cold War–era relationships forged with leaders of national liberation movements, and to take advantage of cultures of corruption. The controversy arising from a massive $76 billion nuclear power plant construction deal triggered strong pushback and legal challenges from South Africa’s institutional checks and balances, civil society groups, and independent media. Key parts of the Russian national security establishment view civil nuclear power exports as an important tool for projecting influence overseas while creating revenue streams for sustaining intellectual and technical capabilities and vital programs inside Russia itself. Yet such cooperation is often a two-edged sword. On the one hand, costly projects such as the one pushed by Zuma typically make little economic sense for the purchasing country, spurring uncomfortable questions about who stands to benefit. On the other hand, heavily subsidized projects pursued mainly for geopolitical reasons risk saddling Russia’s nuclear power monopoly Rosatom with burdens it can ill afford. Ongoing investigations of high-level corruption during the period of so-called state capture under Zuma shed remarkable light on how the Kremlin operates in Africa and other parts of the world. In retrospect, the sustainability of Moscow’s embrace of South Africa was highly questionable due to its paltry tool kit. Russian involvement in the South African economy is miniscule compared to that of other trading partners such as the EU, China, the United States, India, and the UK, accounting for a mere 0.4 percent of South Africa’s foreign trade. While the Soviet Union was an important patron during the anti-apartheid struggle, modern-day Russia offers little in the way of practical assistance for helping South Africa deal with its deep-set economic and societal challenges.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, National Security, Geopolitics, Nuclear Waste
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, South Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Human trafficking remains a significant problem in Africa, exploiting vulnerable individuals—children, women, and men—for forced labor as well as prostitution.
  • Topic: United Nations, Labor Issues, Children, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa
  • Author: Margo A. Bagley
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: South Africa has a rich tradition of Indigenous knowledge covering uses of the country’s abundant natural resources. South Africa’s development of a multi-faceted framework for cultural and genetic resource protection in relation to Indigenous knowledge is a promising source of fruitful insights on the challenges and benefits of implementing such protections. As the first in a series of case studies featuring various models of traditional knowledge implementation in domestic legislation, this paper provides an overview of how South Africa is approaching the protection of traditional or Indigenous knowledge. A central aim of this series is to provide objective evidence and insight into national experiences that could serve to inform and support effective policy development in the field, without endorsing any particular national approach.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Natural Disasters, Indigenous
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Paula R. Cruz, Victor Rebourseau, Alyssa Luisi
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: This working paper results from the first phase of the research project on “Social Innovation and Higher Education in the BRICS” conducted by the Research Group on Innovation Systems and Development Governance at the BRICS Policy Center. This research aims to contribute to both the advancement of the scholarly debate on the engagement of HEIs in social innovation initiatives, and the promotion of more inclusive and sustainable development policies in the Global South, particularly in the BRICS.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Governance, Innovation, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: Paula R. Cruz, Alyssa Luisi, Victor Rebourseau
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: BRICS Policy Center
  • Abstract: This is the second working paper resulting from the first phase of the research project on “Social Innovation and Higher Education in the BRICS” conducted by the Research Group on Innovation Systems and Development Governance at the BRICS Policy Center. It aims to provide evidence on the ways in which social innovation labs in HEIs in the BRICS countries may operate within a complex, multiscalar governance mode, which a number of local-, national-, and international or transnational level stakeholders participate in.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Governance, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil