When South Africa joined the BRICs in 2016, adding its S as part of the “emerging” (Brazil, Russia, India, China) clan of developing nations, the entire continent was excited. For good reason, Africa focused on a possible “take-off” by Nelson Mandela’s country.
After Asia, we thought Africa was finally going to embark on the big ship of growth, development and prosperity. Industry, along with monsters, is not necessarily a rocket engine for South Africa, but raw materials that are not scarce and agriculture is going to provide the first base, the second fueled by the rest. Services, innovation or creativity, telecommunications and… culture to reach the target star. Faith, then gave life.
But now, fifteen years later, the results are far from expectations and ambitions, and the story of achieving a brighter future remains slim. Once the hope of the entire continent, South Africa is no longer so. This is, for various reasons, external, (financial crisis, pandemic, conflict in Ukraine, global inflation…), but especially domestic (bad governance and bad policies, Bigotry, corruption or institutionalized looting, animosity… yet to emerge. Bad! The country that prides itself as an economic role model on the continent has recently been drastically reshaped by the FATF.
In fact, South Africa has registered on the FATF’s gray list as the kingdom emerges from it. Unlike Morocco, Mandela’s country is in the “jurisdiction under heightened surveillance” category because its laws do not comply with standards for the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The decision threatens to exclude South Africa from the International Financial System.
As you can imagine, this raises a lot of concerns about the state of financial institutions, regulatory authorities and the country’s investment climate. “Intelligence” Today by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. ” We are determined to recover from this situation soon. This is important not only for our international standing but also for our own ability to fight these crimes in our own country.“, he declared distraught in his “Weekly Newsletter”.
But here are the voices that are said to be rising in South Africa and are warning that the country has now become a paradise for the dubious rich, urging the country’s authorities to strengthen the country’s financial security systems, because the consequences of the FATF’s decision , in fact, be serious in the country’s economy, which is already stuck in a prolonged economic recession for several years. This situation can lead to capital and foreign currency outflows, making borrowing more expensive and raising the costs of transactions, administrative management and bank financing.
It is only a natural evolution of things regarding the determined path that South Africa will take. A country that was freed by Nelson Mandela and became a symbol of respect for human rights, today looks at Russia sweetly and accuses America and Europe of mistreatment of Africa and ‘forgets’.
In January, Pretoria hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who toured various African capitals to present his country as Africa’s true liberator. And to better explain these dubious acquaintances, a 10-day military exercise is underway off the coast of South Africa in the Indian Ocean.
The exercises, carried out with China and Russia, in which Algeria also participates, have disproportionately angered the West and called into question South Africa’s stated neutrality in the conflict in Ukraine. This is “Not really what we want”, During a visit to Pretoria last month, the head of European diplomacy, Joseph Borrell, made the announcement. As a result, in order to look good, South Africa is performing a sacred and difficult balancing act with its partners by lending itself to the Chinese yuan, relying on Russian rumours.
On the one hand, the country wants to be the defender of the new world order of apparent but disguised neutrality against the conflict in Ukraine, and on the other hand, it cannot do without its economic ties with the West. Almost non-existent, it weighs more in the balance than with Russia or China to a lesser degree. South Africa, given the continent’s new stance, especially the West is moving away from Pretoria, allowing itself to be misled, seduced by anti-democratic sirens. In the process its continental aura strays here and there.
Nevertheless, when its membership in BRICS was considered successful some fifteen years ago, it allowed it to assume a prominent role in the BRICS-Africa relationship. This time the disappointment will be fast. Today, the assumption of an African representation has become questionable. The same applies to Algeria, which will not stop encouraging Mandela’s country to better divide the continent.
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