South Africa: On the Road to Turmoil?

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Long the example of stability on the African continent, South Africa emerged in the 1990s, after decades of apartheid, as an up-and-coming democracy ruled by the African National Congress (ANC), then headed by Nelson Mandela. It was listed as one of the BRICS rising economies – along with Brazil, Russia, India, and China. For the past two decades it has served as an inspiration for how African economies and governments can transform.

Now, the once-promising democratic state is plagued by high unemployment and inflation, along with political turmoil. In the first quarter of 2017, South Africa’s economy sank into recession, while credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the country to just above junk status. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings had previously downgraded South Africa to “junk.”

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