Sunday, May 27, 2012

Southern Africa in the new Mellennium

Partner or Hegemon? South Africa in Africa Regional and continent economic dominance of South Africa can be displayed with its massive capital investment in other nations. This article questions the notion if South Africa is a partner or hegemon in Africa. According to McGowan ( 1998;6) South Africa has become the largest Republic’s single largest export market in 1993 Africa including four members of the Southern African Custom Union (SACU) accounted for 31,7% of SA exports. In trade South Africa has dominated becoming a significant market for African products according to McGowan (1998;10) Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BNLS) in regional trade they totally depend on South Africa and the rest of SACU is a very large market for South African exporters. Trade expansion of South Africa into the continent with trade with non SACU members growing at an outstanding pace according to McGowan (1998;6) with the implementation of GEAR the South African economy has grown remarkably, Southern Africa has been called the ‘Economic Giant of Africa’ with all the credit going to SA. McGowan (1998;168) ascertains that within the theory of hegemonic assent by Wallerstien South Africa can be classified as semi-peripheral country with market supremacy in the agro-industrial productive efficiency making it possible for the rising hegemon to be the lowest cost producer in other markets.

In Transportation according to McGowan (1998;14) SA retained and enhanced its dominance from the 1980s and 1990s with well established roads, shipment and air facilities best in Southern Africa .SAA is the largest airline in Africa and containerization system in the shipping industry made the industry best in Africa. Infrastructural development the South African government has been involved in projects across the region that boost their economy according to McGowan (1998;15) gives an example the Cabora Bassa Hydro-electric scheme in Mozambique potential to generate 100000mega-watts is in collaboration with SA in which it will benefit significantly. In telecommunications South Africa according McGowan (1998;15) South Africa is totally hegemonic within Southern Africa as it levelled with Denmark. The South African economy according to McGowan (1998:20) is 3,4 times than the other 11 countries combined and 13,5 times than the region second largest producers Angola with total GDP similar to developed countries. The structural position as South is also beneficial to its economic development s McGowan (1998;20) elaborates the SA occupies a structural position of advantage similar too US in the world economy. Whilst there is significant evidence those countries landlocked with no direct access of the world market according to McGowan (1998;22) have been incorporated into the South African-dominated regional sub-system SACU are practically economic provinces of SA. McGowan (1998;29) propounds that majority of the private sector enterprise operating in the region are South African creating an enormous opportunity for them to increase their structural power in the policy process.

McGowan(1998;179) quotes Margenthau 1948 as he cites that SA’s regional diplomacy seeks national interests rather than regional security, tight border controls and the aggressive promotion of exports and investment for economic growth and job creation in South Africa it’s relationship would be one of a self hegemon. The SACU and BLNs states have been frequently undermined by SA economic activities as they display their power and strength to sign treaties that affect trading activities. According McGowan (1998;183) SA behaviour since 1994 renegotiated bilateral agreements with other Southern African countries that invariably undermine the integrity of SACU’s customs union. The failure by SA to rectify the Free Trade Protocol was an act to undermine SADC. In conclusion South Africa has shown strong elements of being a hegemon than a partner in SADC region with furthering of domestic issues rather than regional.
South African’s Zimbabwe Policy; Unravelling the Contradictions
Mbeki’s presidency emerged a new era diplomatic relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Freeman article demonstrates the contradictions posed by South Africa’s great power status in Africa and its economic strength. According to Freeman (2005;148) the Mbeki administration’s support to Mugabe regime after the controversial land reform and fraudulent elections in 2000 seemed to contradict the essence of the African Renaissance which Mbeki had promised to speared in Africa and also put the question Western support for NEPAD.

Freeman (2005;150) propounds that the support of the Mugabe regime was in the bid to mend the tense and irritated relationship which had developed between South Africa and Zimbabwe in the initial post colonial apartheid phase and Mbeki himself believed in anticolonialism and that Britain never leaved to its promises for funding land distribution in Zimbabwe. The issue of human rights and democracy to denounce ZANUPF government was illogic to Mbeki and other SADC heads of government according to Freeman (2005;151) for Mbeki it was a cover up to seeking regime change and a way for violating Zimbabwe sovereignty. African Renaissance and NEPAD advocated for good governance and democracy was very opposite with the foreign policy implemented by Mbeki. Freeman (2005;155) the anti-imperialist and anti western agenda by ZANUPF questioned the very existence of the implementation of NEPAD and African Renaissance. Freeman (2005;158) emphasis that the reason Mbeki support for the Mugabe government was in the politics of identity that emerged in the liberation struggle and the emergence of MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) was labelled a western agent there derail the gains of the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe land reform programme according to Freeman (2005;162) provided a “wake up” call for South Africa serves as a rallying point to mass discontent and radical mass political in South Africa provides a key domestic vector shaping official policy. The major criticism of the Mbeki government faced was within the Triple Alliance the open support of MDC and ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) by COSATU and SAPC according to Freeman (2005;164) emergency of opposition parties such as the MDC by ANC and other regional leaders was viewed a threat and challenge the existence of liberation parties in Africa and that a credible alternative might emerge within South Africa. Freeman (2005;166) elaborates that Mugabe made a clear mockery to the NEPAD and African Renaissance elements of good governance and peer review put forward in these strategies highlighted the reversion to the sort of politics the concepts condemned. In conclusion the article demonstrates the failure of South Africa in political field but much vocal in the economic sphere. Hegemonic display of South Africa in Zimbabwe situation showed SA’s government authority weak and in ironic and perverse turnaround, Mugabe has so far ended to set the agenda.

SADC; A Development Community without a development Policy
The principal existence of SADC is for implementing economic co-operation, security, regional integration as well as developmental strategies to member nations. This article by Arrigo Pallotti postulates the failure of SADC to fuel its mandatory objective of speeding trade liberalisation as the primary aim of interstate economic co-operation and examines the political ambiguities surrounding the creation of SADC.As Pallotti (2004;515) elaborates the transformation of SADCC to SADC in 1992 after the Treaty of Windhoek the led to the advocacy of a neutral neo-liberal strategy of region integration which implemented trade liberalisation as the main instrument of economic development in Southern Africa.
The SADC advocacy for regional trade liberalisation and economic integration of Southern African countries has been hampered by globalisation and the degree of polarisation that exist between regional nations. According to Pallotti (2004;514) SADC approach of increasing regional integration ignores the notion of inter-state and intra state power relations and putting in place alternative developmental strategies for the developing counties in the region. SADC promoted intra-state relations in the bid to encourage regional integration according to Pallito (2004;514) the governments with the fear of economic marginalisation in the global economy led them to adopt ambitious but vogue integration policies. The initiative move by SADC to implement the SADC Trade Protocol in 1996 Pallotti (2004;516) elaborates it resulted in gradual removal trade barriers among member states in Southern Africa derived from the Trade Development and Co-operation Agreement concluded by the EU and South Africa.

The clause resulted in major debates prior its implementation SA advocated for rules of origin to be involved in the protocol, political tensions surfaced according to Pallotti (2004;518) on the definition of rules of origin of textiles and clothing was the major obstacle to the Protocol implementation. With non SACU-SADC, Zimbabwe and Mauritius arguing with SA terms as they highlighted trade protectionist motives which goes against the Trade liberalization objective of SADC. According to Pallotti (2004;520) the interstate- state political tensions has showed its unable to promote equitable and sustainable development as polarisation of economic and political relations in greatly noted in South Africa.

At the blink of this impulse the emergency of Industrial Strategy in 1996 which according to Pallotti (2004:520) was to compliment the regional trade liberalisation process mainly focused on the polarisation that characterized economic relations in SADC. The advocacy for industrialization for SADC member nations by the draft was seen as ambitious as further polarisation of economic development in Southern Africa and wouldn’t help in to address the inter-state tensions and imbalances that the establishment of free trade was going to bring. Pallitto (2004;522) elaborates that regional development policy implemented SADC has proved unable to agree on a regional developmental strategy that could prompt transformation of the dependent economic structures of countries and have effects on free trade to facilitate economic growth. South Africa hegemonic status in the region can still be noticed as it benefits more from trade at the expense of SADC countries according to Pallitto (2004;523) the inter-state economic relations of South Africa and the region has not reversed which has led to economic disparities among countries.

In conclusion the Pallitto article demonstrates the SADC’s economic development strategies’ failure in furthering economic interests to the rest of Southern Africa as well as continued polarisation of economic development with the SADC member nations.

Ahwireg-Obeng F and McGowan P 1998 Partner of Hegemon? South Africa in Africa; Journal of Contemporary African Studies South Africa
Freeman L.2005 South Africa’s Zimbabwe Policy; Unravelling the Contradictions; Journal of Contemporary African Studies South Africa
Pallotti A: 2004 SADC: A Development Community without a Development Policy Review of African Political Economy No 101:513-531 ROAPE Publications ltd, 2004