What Modi means for Africa
If elections are like New Year’s Eve resolutions, when a fresh start can be made, South Africa and India made different choices in their May 2014 elections. I n r e- elect i ng President Jacob Zuma, South Africans chose to stay on the same path and count their blessings. Indians used their 16th election to turn over a new leaf, change their game and take back their power entrusted to the Indian National Congress (INC) for 67 years since independence in 1947.
In its place, t hey voted i n Shri Narendra Modi, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP), as its 15th prime minister. In a day, t he power base shifted from a fragmented Congressl ed coalition, to a more decisive, consolidated leadership. Eight months later, the world’s largest democracy is writing a new story.
According to Forbes Magazine, the Indian economy is the best-performing Brics market and one of the world’s favourite emerging markets. In 2015, the Indian economy is expected to grow by 6.3%. Under Modi, the Sensex c l i mbed a l most 30% a nd I ndian equities gained over $300bn.
His market-orientated ‘ Make in I nd i a’ i n i t i a t i v e i s a t t r a c t i ng mult i nat i ona l i nve s t or s like US-based Nike, Norway’s Telenor Group, China telecommunications e q u ipment-m a k e r Z T E Corporation and Japan’s Suzuki, including South Africa’s Sasol, Bidvest, Nando’s, Shoprite and Standard Bank.
Following the announcement of Modi’s Cabinet, Standard & Poor’s raised its credit rating at BBBfrom negative to stable.
While Modi has the wind at his back, Zuma is facing a headwind, which makes progress more diff icult. At around 2%, SA’s growth is sluggish; well below Africa’s average growth rate of 5.2%. FDI flows In 2013/14 India attracted foreign direct investment of some $29bn, a f igure set to double to $60bn forecast for 2015. SA, however, attracted