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Polity – News this week

3rd June 2010

By: Bradley Dubbelman


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South Africa

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa needs to relook at the policy of narrow black economic-empowerment (BEE), the South African Communist Party (SACP) says. Speaking after the party's Central Committee meeting in Johannesburg, deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin says that the SACP feels that certain "taboo questions" need to be asked in order to put the country on a new growth path. One of these is whether narrow BEE has worked in terms of jobs creation. "We need to have a relook at narrow BEE and whether it has had an influence at all on job creation," says Cronin. Referring to the minerals industry, Cronin says that certain BEE quotas have not been fulfilled. "If these quotas had been fulfilled, would our mineral sector or our economy be on a better basis in terms of job creation or on a worse basis? There's no easy answer to these types of questions but [we] certainly need to begin to answer these types of questions," he says. He questions whether some business-people who gained from BEE practices are really "patriotic" in terms of what they contributed to job creation in the country. "The presumption that BEE shareholders are patriotic and will create jobs and do all kinds of other things is something that needs to be very seriously interrogated," he says. Cronin says that, despite the fact that South Africa had a growing economy between 1994 and mid-2008, there has been a growing divergence in income levels and that divergence is racialised.


Africa & the world

NICE - French President Nicolas Sarkozy says that Africa should be represented on the United Nations (UN) Security Council, promising to back reforms when France takes the helm of the Group of Eight (G8) and the Group of 20 (G20) big economies, next year. Speaking at the launch of the twenty-fifth Africa-France summit, he says that it is time for the world to include Africa on the global stage to discuss international crises and reforms. "I am convinced that we can't talk about big global questions without Africa any longer," Sarkozy adds. "The Security Council must be reformed and it's not normal that no African is a member of the Security Council." African nations have asked for two rotating permanent seats since 2005, given that the continent has about 27% of members at the UN, its size and the involvement of global powers on its territory. China, the US, Russia, Britain and France are the permanent members of the council. Nigeria, Gabon and Uganda are among ten members that hold rotating seats. Without saying exactly what France will favour, Sarkozy says: "France, when it takes over the G8 and the G20 next year, will push towards this reform." The G8 is made up of leading rich nations, while the G20 also includes other big economies. South Africa is Africa's only G20 member. Security Council reform has been held up, with four countries in particular - Brazil, Germany, Japan and Pakistan - seeking new permanent seats.


STOCKHOLM - Developing countries will suffer if Europe's governments fail to deal with their debt problems, the World Bank's chief economist says. Despite a record bail-out package, fears remain that Greece's debt woes will spread to other eurozone nations, damage the global financial system and strangle worldwide economic growth. "We certainly hope this crisis can be resolved soon because the downturn in the European countries will be bad for the developing countries, and could constrain growth," World Bank chief economist Justin Yifu Lin says on the sidelines of a seminar in Stockholm. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warns that global economic growth remains vulnerable to sovereign debt risks and the possibility of a second downturn. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has sharply raised its forecast for global growth this year and next year, thanks mainly to strength in Asia. It says that developed nations' debt problems are one of the main threats to the global economy. Greece has received the biggest bail-out in financial history, with the International Monetary Fund - the World Bank's sister organisation - and the European Union pledging €110-billion from 2010 to 2013 to save the country from default. At a seminar on development challenges in a postcrisis world, Lin says that the bail-out package is "decisive" and will help stabilise markets, but that there is still a risk that Europe's problems could spill over to the rest of the world and that the developing world is particularly vulnerable.



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