April 1, 2009

South Africa: Increasing Opportunities for the Poor

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As South Africa faced a new round of parliamentary elections in April 2009, the country was confronting a host of difficult political challenges. The elections were a good barometer the country’s commitment to democratic institutions and peaceful political transitions. It also tested past public policies—policies that were criticized for falling short of delivering positive economic opportunities throughout the country—especially for the poor.

In this Country Brief, Enterprise Africa! lead researcher Karol Boudreaux and program associate Johan van der Walt focus on three domestic policy issues that they believe are important to expanding opportunities for South Africa’s poor: employment, education, and security. In addition, they also focus on three foreign policy issues that they believe are significant to leveraging South Africa’s unique position in international affairs: regional integration, good governance, and public and cultural diplomacy.

The manner in which the country and the key political contenders—the African National Congress (ANC), the Congress of the People (COPE), and the Democratic Alliance (DA)—managed this period of transition had a large impact on the political economy of South Africa and its surrounding region. With a new focus on expanding opportunity and good governance, the country can play an ever more meaningful role in the region, continent, and world.

Citation (Chicago Style):

Boudreaux, Karol and Johan van der Walt. "South Africa: Increasing Opportunities for the Poor." Mercatus Policy Series, Country Brief No. 3. Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2009.