South Africa

How looking through a doughnut can test if South Africa is on track for inclusive and sustainable development

Duncan Green - June 3, 2015

Oxfam researcher Katherine Trebeck introduces some new work on doughnut economics, (whose inventor, Kate Raworth has left Oxfam to write a book on it) There is an African proverb that says: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’ It could be taken as call for inclusivity, solidarity, and equality of people and communities. But it might also …

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What’s at stake in the South African and Malawi elections this month?

Duncan Green - May 6, 2014

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Advocacy and Public Policy, reflects on impending elections in South Africa and Malawi Malawi and South Africa’s election cycle is identical.  Both had their first democratic multi-party elections 20 years ago this month.  Who can forget the incredible photos of black people queuing from before dawn across South Africa to exercise their right to vote for the first time. Malawi’s …

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Why is the EU threatening to cut investment in South Africa?

admin - July 19, 2013

Bilateral Investment Treaties are one of those nerdy ‘important but dull’ bits of international governance that too often get ignored by NGOs and others. So thanks to Liz May at Traidcraft for drawing my attention to this week’s punch-up between South Africa and the EU. First the fisticuffs. According to South Africa’s equivalent of the FT, Business Day, ‘Karel De Gucht, the European commissioner for …

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How to end foreign aid and avoid a punch-up

admin - May 6, 2013

An edited version of this piece appeared on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site on Saturday The spat between South Africa and Britain over ending its (very small) aid programme has sparked another round of debate about whether British aidshould be going to middle income countries (the last round was over aid to India, which seems to particularly rile the Daily Mail). But whatever the …

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Whither (wither?) the ANC? Final thoughts on South Africa as a developmental state and the crisis of leadership

admin - April 2, 2013

Like most of my overseas trips, my recent visit to South Africa resembled an intensive rolling seminar, as debates with brilliant Oxfam staff, partners and academics spilled over from conferences and meetings into cars and bars. Before it all recedes into the mists, I wanted to capture one of the recurring themes. The role of the South African state and the ANC. Discussions on the …

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Brazil v South Africa: what can the BRICS tell us about overcoming inequality?

admin - March 20, 2013

The blog’s inequality week here in South Africa continues with some thoughts on inequality and the BRICS. An edited version of this post appeared earlier this week on the FT’s Beyond BRICS blog The acronym may have been cooked up in far-off New York, but the BRICS grouping of countries is starting to generate some interesting life of its own. Last week, I was in …

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How to build local government accountability in South Africa? A conversation with partners

admin - March 18, 2013

This is what a good day visiting an Oxfam programme looks like. I skim the interwebs (and this blog) to put together some thoughts on a given issue from our experience or what others are writing (‘the literature’). Then sit down with local Oxfamistas and partner organizations (who are usually closer to the grassroots than we are) to compare these bullet points with their reality. …

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How can South Africa promote citizenship and accountability? A conversation with some state planners

admin - March 13, 2013

How can states best promote active citizenship, in particular to improve the quality and accountability of state services such as education? This was the topic of a great two hour brainstorm with half a dozen very bright sparks from the secretariat of South Africa’s National Planning Commission yesterday. The NPC, chaired by Trevor Manuel (who gave us a great plug for the South African edition …

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Can South Africa build a developmental state?

admin - September 1, 2011

Ha-Joon Chang recently sent me an interesting paper of his on ‘How to ‘do’ a developmental state’, his contribution to a book on the prospects for building a democratic developmental state in South Africa. In it, he does one of his typically fascinating comparisons of the ways various other countries have build ‘developmental states’ (which he defines as ‘a state that intervenes to promote economic …

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How is Climate Change affecting South Africa?

admin - February 27, 2009

Here’s my ‘summary of the summary’ of a report published today by Earthlife Africa and Oxfam International. ‘In climate terms, South Africa is already living on the edge. Much of it is arid or semi-arid and the whole country is subject to droughts and floods. Even small variations in rainfall or temperatures would exacerbate this already stressed environment. Most South African crops are grown in areas …

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