When South Africa joined the BRICs in 2016, adding its S to be part of the clan of developing countries that had become “emerging” (Brazil, Russia, India, China), the whole continent was enthusiastic. And for good reason, Africa was eyeing a possible “take-off” through the country of Nelson Mandela.
We thought then that after Asia, Africa was finally going to board the great ship of development, growth and prosperity. Industry, alongside the monsters joined, certainly did not have to be the engine of the rocket for South Africa, but raw materials and agriculture, which were not in short supply, were going to provide the first floor while the second will be ignited through other services, inventiveness or creativity, telecoms, and… culture to reach the targeted star. Hope, 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 very slim. South Africa, formerly hope of an entire continent is no longer so. And this, for various reasons, external (financial crisis, the pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, global inflation, etc.), but also and above all internal (poor governance and bad policies, favouritism, corruption or even banditry institutionalized, prevarications… still has failed to take off. Worse ! the country which on the continent prided itself on being an economic example has recently been severely reframed by the FATF.
Indeed, while the Kingdom is coming out of it, South Africa has registered on the FATF’s gray list. Except that unlike Morocco, Mandela’s country is in the category of “jurisdiction under heightened surveillance” because of the non-compliance of its laws with standards for the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. This decision risks excluding South Africa from the global financial system.
As you can imagine, this raises a lot of concerns about the state of financial institutions, regulatory authorities and the investment environment in the country, as so well said and in ” acknowledgement “ cause today by the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. ” We are determined to get out of this situation as soon as possible. This is important not only for our international position, but also for our own ability to fight against these crimes in our country.“, he declared distraught in his “Weekly Newsletter”.
But lo and behold, the supposed voices are rising in South Africa and warning that the country has now become a paradise for individuals of dubious wealth, urging the country’s officials to strengthen the country’s financial security systems, because the The consequences of the FATF’s decision would, in fact, be serious for the country’s economy, which is already mired in an economic slowdown that has lasted for several years. This situation could also lead to capital and currency outflows, make borrowing more expensive and raise the costs of transactions, administrative management and bank funding.
It is only the natural evolution of things with regard to the path that South Africa is determined to take. Liberated by Nelson Mandela, the country which had become a symbol of respect for human rights, is today making sweet eyes at Russia, accusing the United States and Europe of mistreating Africa and the ‘forget.
In January Pretoria hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was touring various African capitals to present his country as a true liberator of Africa. Moreover, and to better illustrate these dubious acquaintances, 10-day military exercises are underway off the coast of South Africa in the Indian Ocean.
These exercises, carried out with China and Russia and in which Algeria also takes part and in proportion, exasperate the Western countries, and call into question the neutrality claimed by South Africa in the conflict in Ukraine. This “is not really what we would have preferred”, declared the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, during his visit to Pretoria last month. As a result, to look good, South Africa is carrying out a sacred and difficult balancing act with its partners by relying on Russian gossip and offering itself to Chinese yuan.
On the one hand, the country wants to be the defender of a new world order of a displayed but disguised neutrality vis-à-vis the conflict in Ukraine and on the other, it cannot do without its economic relations with the Western countries, which weigh much more in the balance than those, almost non-existent, with Russia or even to a lesser degree with China. We have to believe that South Africa, with regard to the new position of the countries of the continent, in particular those of the West which are turning away from Pretoria, which is letting itself be misled, seduced by the anti-democratic sirens, is in the process of to stray here and there its continental aura.
Yet she had bet on that, about fifteen years ago when her BRICS membership had been considered a success in enabling it to adopt a pivotal role in the BRICS-Africa relationship. The disappointment this time will only be faster. Today, assuming an African representativeness has become questionable. VSThis also applies to Algeria, which never ceases to encourage Mandela’s country to better divide the continent.