Magazine article New African

South Africa in Africa: Interest in the Success of the South African Economy Is Not Restricted to That Country Alone. a Strong South Africa Can Also Benefit African Development as a Whole, Reports Neil Ford

Magazine article New African

South Africa in Africa: Interest in the Success of the South African Economy Is Not Restricted to That Country Alone. a Strong South Africa Can Also Benefit African Development as a Whole, Reports Neil Ford

Article excerpt

Pretoria promotes itself as a representative of the continent, campaigning for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and pledging to promote African interests in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) group of states. Yet South Africa does not have anything like the political or economic might of the other four BRICS states, so how great a role can it really have in the continent as a whole?

President Jacob Zuma. His country is now a major player in Africa

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The answer appears to vary according to the region of Africa in question. In Southern Africa, Pretoria plays a massive role across the cultural, political and economic spheres. The government of South Africa is particularly keen to undo the harm that was inflicted on the Frontline States during the apartheid era and is supporting economic growth across the wider Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Where once it was a force for destruction, it is now at least trying to position itself as a force for good.

Through SADC and the associated Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), South Africa is promoting greater trade within the region, while South African companies take advantage of the opportunities on offer to invest in neighbouring states. Diamond mines in Botswana, hotels in Namibia, and gas fields in Mozambique all benefit from South African investment, while the country's political influence helps to heal the political wounds of the past.

Mozambique has benefitted most directly from its proximity to South Africa and the twin ports of Maputo and Matola are becoming increasingly popular entrepots for international trade. They are located closer to South Africa's industrial heartland around Johannesburg than South Africa's established ports of Durban and Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

Under the management of the logistics company, Grindrod, Maputo handled 8.7 million tonnes of cargo, including aluminium, coal, fuel and grain, in 2010.

The South African firm hopes to increase this to 12. million tonnes a year in 2011, 26 million tonnes by 2015, and 48 million tonnes by 2030 by positioning Maputo as a gateway for South Africa.

Growing demand has already prompted massive investment in dredging the harbour entrance channel, allowing access for Panamax-sized vessels.

With the gas, power, tourist and steel sectors also benefitting from relationship with South Africa, Mozambique looks set to continue enjoying the high levels of economic growth that have been recorded over the past two decades. …

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