Institute for Global Dialogue: South Africa in 2020

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International Relations

05 April 2000
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

5 May 2000


Chairperson: Mr E Ebrahim


The Institute for Global Dialogue gave a presentation based on an investigative study they had conducted to determine the state of the SADC region in 2020 and associated trends and projections. The findings indicate that only if there is significant debt relief, an increase in domestic investment savings and a significant development of human resources will there be growth of the economy, the attraction of foreign direct investment and a decrease in poverty.


Mr Anthoni van Nieuwkerk of the Institute for Global Dialogue said that their team of economists, political scientists and academics had pinpointed five scenarios in answering the question:
what can be done to create stability and prosperity in the SADC region given current regional dynamics?

The conclusive summary was that only if there is significant debt relief, increased domestic investment savings, significant development in human resources, will there will be a 6% growth of economies and an attraction of FDI and a decrease in poverty.

Mr. Nieuwkerk presented the team's video: TRACKS TO THE FUTURE

The film identified the following scenarios: Danger, Profit Seeking, Visionary leadership, The Slow Slide of Decay and Corruption and Self-reliance.


DANGER: SADC region will become polarized and the region will split in two.

The disparities:

  • South Africa experiences the fastest growth
  • Angolan war and the conflict in the DRC: anarchy wide spread
  • Flourishing black market
  • Trade only 20% should be at a desirable 50%
  • Foreign Tourists keep a distance
  • Threatening civil liberties
  • State becomes unable to participate in world government
  • AIDS pandemic


PROFIT SEEKING: Top minority of elites will be dominant and state affairs marginalized.


  • Money talks
  • Power invested in the private sector
  • Large elites exploit and profit from SMME's
  • Poor suffer again
  • Benefits don't trickle down
  • AIDS - Governments cut back on health
  • Power influence on the elite



Issues for resolution:

  • Conflict in Angola/DRC
  • Ongoing AIDS education
  • Striking deals with Pharmaceutical companies
  • State must regulate private sector
  • Money put into education
  • Benefit of technology
  • Promotion of inclusion
  • Regional cooperation
  • Security trade agreements
  • Promotion of African Renaissance
  • Peace in Angola and the DRC causes a positive spill-over
  • Economic focus on infrastructure


THE SLOW SLIDE: decay and corruption


  • Greed and decadence
  • Corruption and nepotism
  • Thin veneer of democracy
  • Corrupt leaders use force
  • Lose faith in leadership
  • Crime increases
  • Criminals/public sector patronage
  • Surge of developed of consumers
  • Exports exposed to fluctuation
  • Investors scared
  • Environment neglected
  • South Africa is the key player and is accused of exploitation
  • SADC won't interfere between with each other
  • War in Angola/DRC take their toll in a negative spill-over




  • Reliant on human resilience
  • Some states enjoy nominal democracies
  • The only survival is through local communities and NGO's
  • Poor management decline
  • No cooperation between borders
  • Peace is on the verge of collapse in Angola/ DRC




  • South Africa must address isolationist tendencies i.e. Xenophobia
  • Values and norms of democratic government need widespread acceptances.



  • Benefits of increasing investment information flows must be managed fairly to avoid polarization
  • Coherent economic strategies (regionally) are the only check for growing inequalities



  • Institutionalized strong regional cooperation is needed, not a strong institution.
  • Cooperation must take place politically, economically, environmentally, and security.
  • Certain African leaders in every sector both inside and outside state and civil society must participate in comprehensive cooperation.


Slow Slide

  • Practice of neo-paternalism would need to be reversed
  • South Africa must take care of free media and consolidate the fragile democracy.


(Resolution still incomplete)

  • Inflating state capacity and building formal economies.



(Q) Mr. J S Mgidi (ANC): The realities surfacing within the region seem to focus around the problems within the decline of trade preferences. Does IGD have or offer any suggestions. Moreover, how do you explain certain regional leaders, and their particular agenda? How can one address and embrace the regional agenda?

(Q) Member: What are the essential minimals for this economic growth factor?

(Q) Mr. E I Ebrahim (ANC): What would be international scenarios that would affect the region?

(Q) Member: Consider Africa out of mess. Shouldn't self-reliance be appealing? Isn't survival human instinct? It seems like a very bold suggestion to make leaders come to an understanding. All regions are rich. Where are these riches going? There is poverty in the midst of wealth. Why are raw materials exported and processed outside and returned as finished products? In addition, I feel as though there is a creation of a perpetual dependence mentality. Technology is within our own reach and we need to make an agreement between other Western countries.

(Q) Ms F Hajaij (ANC): How does one address giving up sovereignty? Moreover, how does one deal with the gap of poverty before moving into the SADC region? How can we strengthen government with a strong equitable base plus ensuring equity?

(Q) Member: Your research is remiss. It takes a very subjective and isolated view, currently and historically. Europe was in a very worse situation in 1947 and it could not even feed itself in war. War was a Marshall Plan whereby Europe could be at the status that is today. Both Europe and the US have benefited greatly from Africa's economy through slave trade and colonization. SADC in isolation is unscientific and prejudiced. I have not heard any research saying anything about regulation and deregulation. Globalization is driven by MNC's. What is significant is diamonds in Angola and technology injected in Southern Africa. These are strange for 2020. What happened in 1980 or 1960? The late 60's and 70's were the golden economic era. Why? What was the capacity of industrialists? If there is no Renaissance, is it fair to presume then that there will be a slow slide. Peter Ham has said that it is in Europe's best interest to enjoy the African Renaissance. Moreover, whose wars are the wars in Congo and Angola? How do you diagnosis these issues?

Mr. Anthoni Van Nieuwkerk: This was a brief production. Moreover, our publications were roughly 200 pages based on analysis. We can provide manuscripts, but briefing in one phrase is substantiated by quite possibly 15 pages of research. I am not an economist, but pertaining to the question about trade agreements; declining trade preferences, the SADC regional trade protocol and the AF-EU trade summit have been factored. We are entering an era of aid, and it is declining. The global North wants free trade to penetrate to the global south whether business or economics of the global south is in a position to be participatory. I am talking about reciprocity and what we are saying in our research is that SA is in a position to lose. We are not convinced that the country will win.

When investigating regional capacity it is important to ask whether Swaziland or Mauritius is able to diversify sugar even with 8-10 years. If policy makers and opinion makers do not take a strong and affective stance than we will perish. The realities in SA are refugees. We are challenging the answers of policy-makers. I can 't give you an answer, but our research has been produced to pose dialogue. The technology conflict and the resolution of the poverty gap are major issues. Moreover, it is exceedingly apparent that the region does not share a common vision. Scenario 1 is not impossible. The Northern half says military means and the other half says diplomacy. This is the reason why policy defense is still born. Mugabe and Mandela. Why is there a conflict in Angola? How are we to address democratic instabilities?

In addition, I want to make a comment about the AF-EU summit. It gladdens me to read Mr. Mbeki's speech. Is a Marshall Plan in the making? We need significant debt relief from the IMF the World Bank and the US. Select countries will benefit with the adoption of good government. In addition, there will be select debt forgiveness for the HIPIC countries. I am also pessimistic about the summit. Some people made the right noises. It sounds like we are talking about a Renaissance with significant debt on the agenda. We need to search for a solution in addition outside the arena of obvious band-aids on deep soars. If leadership of SA collectively does not develop a shared destiny, then I am afraid we will be seeing a combination of scenarios. In addition, AIDS has to be factored in because as of now no solution has been offered. Thank you.

Mr. E. I Ebrahim: I agree for strong institutions and attempts have been made in the past few months. Thanks to the IGD you have been very helpful in the past. You have been willing to provide for research, we must take advantage of Anthoni's research and findings.

The meeting was adjourned.


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