For South Africa, World Economic Forum Is a Chance to Change the Narrative
Jacob Zuma has three tough days ahead of him as he tries to persuade Africa’s biggest gathering of investors that they should invest their money in his country. South Africa’s president may shake off scandals with ease—the latest involves the spending of public money on one of his homes—but it’s a lot harder to shrug off the parlous state of his country’s economy.
Barely a year after losing its status as the continent’s largest economy to Nigeria, South Africa is a hot mess. Unemployment—at 26.4%—is the highest it has been in over a decade. Economic growth slowed to a feeble 1.3% in the first quarter of 2015. There’s a terrible drought. Unsurprisingly, consumer confidence has plunged.
To top it all, a recent wave of violent xenophobia has stained the country’s reputation as the Rainbow Nation. Although the violence was directed mainly at poor immigrants, it will give many potential investors some pause.