Security and Development in Southern Africa

Security and Development in Southern Africa

Security and Development in Southern Africa

Security and Development in Southern Africa


With the end of white-dominated South Africa, many observers have argued for a positive transformation of the whole of Southern Africa based upon market integration and increased cooperation among the states of the region. Poku and the contributors to this collection re-examine this optimistic scenerio, and they point to the problems of translating good intentions into actual policies.

In reality, the economic imbalance between South Africa and its neighbors poses severe problems for the region. Far from finding a stronger ally in regional reconstruction and development, the countries in the region are finding that for many in South Africa they simply do not matter that much. The analysis points to greater polarization, which may imply greater marginalization of the poorer countries in the region. Moreover, a major widening of the gap between the richer South Africa and some or all of the weaker economies may lead to increased tensions and breakdown of regional relations, even to a situation detrimental to economic development in the region. A provocative analysis by some of the leading politico-economic thinkers of the region, the volume will be of great use to scholars, researchers, and policy makers involved with Southern African development.


Stephen Chan

When I first visited southern Africa 20 years ago—not knowing I would then live there several years—I was full of hope and expectation. a member of the Commonwealth Observer Group that monitored the Zimbabwe independence process from January to March 1980, I remember vividly Robert Mugabe’s victory broadcast as a masterpiece of dignity and statesmanship, of reconciliation and the prospect for a far more evenhanded development. in March 2000, watching the television broadcast of the first farm occupations in Zimbabwe, I found myself rising in my chair—for there, impersonating a war veteran and acting as a spokesman for a disparate group of occupiers, was a gentleman whom I remembered well by name and face as the person whom I had hired to wash the vehicles of the Commonwealth observers. No veteran he. At first this presentation of opportunism, corrupted agenda, and missed opportunity greatly upset me; just as the dissolution of the promise of Chiluba’s government upset me; and any number of other bloodless atrocities (never mind the bloody ones in Angola).

I recalled, however, that while living in the region this seemed like water off a duck’s back. the experience of effort—atrocious or dignified—to respond to the issues of development, globalization and changing security needs had always been an experience of complexities not fully appreciated one step removed. So, although there is much over which to be sad over he last 20 years (and happy: witness Mozambique’s transition to a recognizable form of peace), the one abiding recognition is that the complexity of the actors and their agendas has increased, as have the stakes available and their consequences. Everywhere, increased capital and technology add to the brew, as does the competition between primordial attachment and modernities. If there is a sure sign that something is taking place in the development of southern Africa, it is the amazing increase in the complexity of it all and the reluctant complexity of development.

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