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SnapshotsOct 19, 2020 | 20:14 GMT
A man holds new South African banknotes of the South African rand on July 13, 2018, in Pretoria, South Africa.
South Africa’s Economic Reality Will Dim Any Hopes of a Quick Recovery
Domestic political and financial constraints will thwart South Africa’s new economic recovery plan, prolonging the country’s five-year financial crisis while exacerbating its current levels of inequality and poverty. In an Oct. 15 speech to parliament, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled his government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which ambitiously targets an average of 3 percent GDP growth over the next decade -- a level South Africa has not seen since 2011. The plan seeks to meet that goal by implementing structural reforms, boosting infrastructure investment and reducing bureaucratic red tape. Critically, however, the plan does not abandon the government’s strategy of fiscal consolidation over the medium term.
AssessmentsJul 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
People stand in line to receive grant payments from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in Khayelitsha, a township located near Cape Town, on May 4, 2020. 
South Africa's Budget Outlook Paints a Picture of a Lost Decade
South Africa will likely miss its recently adjusted budget targets as the country’s escalating COVID-19 outbreak delays much-needed austerity measures, leaving the South African economy in shambles for at least another five years. President Cyril Ramaphosa and his pro-business allies in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party had planned to rein in government spending and the country's sky-high debt levels over the next three years. But South Africa's likely extended health and economic crisis could make that goal politically untenable, given that any budget cuts and potential layoffs would most acutely affect the ANC's support base of labor unions and their poorer Black constituents. 
AssessmentsMar 26, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (center) addresses the media in Pretoria after concluding a meeting with various business and political leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 22, 2020. 
A Perfect COVID-19 Storm Closes in on South Africa
With only 709 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 25, South Africa may be lagging a few weeks behind the outbreaks now unfolding in Europe and North America. But when the pandemic does eventually hit the country, it will hit hard. With high rates of people living with HIV or tuberculosis, much of South Africa’s population is immunosuppressed and thus believed to be at risk of dying or in need of significant medical care if they contract the virus. Such a widespread outbreak could, in turn, quickly collapse the country's already fragile health care system and economy, forcing the government to abandon its new austerity budget for expensive relief efforts.
AssessmentsFeb 27, 2020 | 15:47 GMT
Tradesmen stand on the side of the road in Johannesburg, South Africa, seeking work.
South Africa's Grim Economic Reality Shrinks Its Budget Aspirations
South Africa’s newest budget review paints a bleak picture for the country’s economy over the next three years. The budget plan for the 2020 fiscal year, unveiled Feb. 26, projects economic growth over the next three years of just 0.9 percent, 1.3 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively – and this may be optimistic, compared with the International Monetary Fund's projections. The new budget dramatically alters South African expectations in terms of fiscal and debt consolidation over the next year, as it no longer views balancing its primary budget by 2022 as possible. The new budget also attempts to curb years of wage and expenditure growth – setting up more confrontations between the government and labor unions.
SITUATION REPORTFeb 14, 2020 | 17:03 GMT
South Africa: Ramaphosa Pledges Broad Economic and Electricity Reforms in National Address
In his annual state of the nation address, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called for a number of new measures to improve the country's embattled economy and electricity grid, including allowing big power-consuming companies, such as mining firms, to build their own power generation capacity, Reuters reported Feb. 14. 
SnapshotsJan 22, 2020 | 21:00 GMT
New Data Shines a Spotlight on South Africa's Economic Struggles
Despite its many internal problems, South Africa remains a continental power and regional hegemon in southern Africa. Yet years of corruption and mismanagement have sapped its clout. With tepid economic growth forecast for the years ahead, the country's leaders are struggling to spark growth while grappling with the economy's systemic deficiencies.
SnapshotsDec 10, 2019 | 22:04 GMT
South Africa's Mining Sector Goes Dark Amid the Latest Blackout
Officials at South Africa’s unstable power utility giant, Eskom, announced Dec. 9 that extraordinary measures were needed to prevent the country’s electrical grid from collapsing amid plant breakdowns and extreme weather conditions. The company opted to increase its level of load shedding, a maneuver that takes demand strain off the grid, to 6,000 megawatts, amounting to its biggest-ever forced power cut. Eskom authorities also asked companies in the country’s mining sector to reduce power consumption by 20 percent, stalling multiple operations across the country. The unprecedented cuts follow six days of a lower level of forced power cuts, underscoring the severity of South Africa's ongoing electricity crisis. However, Eskom's demand that mining companies cut power consumption is particularly notable, given the sector’s importance to the economy. Fixing Eskom's perennial ineffectiveness, however, will require a massive overhaul of its infrastructure and power plants that would likely take years to complete. Until then, the country's continued
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