Fu­ture of the ANC in four sce­nar­ios

CityPress - - Voices -

‘African Lions” is the nomen­cla­ture given by some an­a­lysts to emerg­ing African economies. The term is of­ten com­pared to these coun­tries’ Asian coun­ter­parts, the Asian Tigers. Adopt­ing an eco­nomic path that fol­lows that of the tigers is a model that many ANC re­formists may wish to fol­low. Af­ter all, it is of­ten ar­gued that the Asian growth story is a ri­poste to Wash­ing­ton’s ne­olib­eral poli­cies.

This sce­nario is the best out­come the ANC can hope for if it wants to en­sure eco­nomic pros­per­ity, with the party be­hind a dom­i­nant state ap­pa­ra­tus.

The African Liger sce­nario arises from an ANC that is able to en­gen­der party dis­ci­pline. The party’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral po­si­tion as­sumes greater sig­nif­i­cance, pos­si­bly ne­ces­si­tat­ing that the pres­i­dent take a strate­gic back seat to this role.

From the strong party flows the man­date of build­ing a de­vel­op­men­tal state as­sisted by highly ed­u­cated and, cru­cially, po­lit­i­cally aligned of­fi­cials.

The state places it­self to pick win­ners and losers in the econ­omy, and, through ag­gres­sive in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ments in se­lected zones and sub­si­dies, it gives as­sis­tance to strate­gic sec­tors.

The ob­jec­tive is a strict reg­u­la­tory frame­work, but, in re­turn, busi­ness re­lies on pol­icy sta­bil­ity, pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment and a highly ed­u­cated pop­u­la­tion to en­sure pro­duc­tiv­ity.

This model, whereby the African lion mim­ics the tiger, may still en­tail race-driven poli­cies, as sup­port of the dom­i­nant group is crit­i­cal to sus­tained po­lit­i­cal power. A dom­i­nant party able to en­gage in long-term state plan­ning is crit­i­cal as a mul­ti­party democ­racy with strong op­po­si­tion par­ties places it in jeop­ardy.

This model is po­ten­tially a tale of eco­nomic pros­per­ity at the risk of civil lib­er­ties.

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