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Nelson Mandela's mixed economic legacy


economy

Nelson Mandela's mixed economic legacy

When Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa, nearly 20 years ago, the country was in deep economic trouble and close to bankruptcy after years of international anti-apartheid sanctions.

Plans by Mandela’s ANC party to nationalise the mines and banks were quickly abandoned to avoid driving away the international investors who were needed to avert economic collapse.

But long term the government has failed to slash unemployment, reduce inequality and promote growth.

The overall jobless rate remains at around 25 percent, with youth unemployment much higher.

Critics say the serious economic reforms that were needed were never initiated and the economy is growing far too slowly to bring down unemployment.

The effects of apartheid can still be seen in the jobless numbers.

Just over 28 percent of black Africans are unemployed, 24.2 percent of what the South African government calls coloured are without work, for those of Indian or Asia origin it is 10.8 percent and just 6.6 percent of whites are without a job.

What Mandela did bring to the South African economy was political stability, but white households still earn on average six times what their black counterparts do.

He is credited with creating a positive business climate that reinvigorated foreign investment, but some economists point out the progress he inspired remains fragile.

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