Dr. Martin Lurther King did not inspire a generation with ‘I have a nightmare’ but rather the timeless speech that stands as the ultimate declaration against an oppressive system was suitably named the ‘I have a dream’ speech. There is so much negativity and as citizens of this great country we have become rooted in the negativity.
There are many things wrong with the country duly noted but there is certainly a whole lot more that is right. I also have a dream that one day we will have truly patriotic citizens and here’s why.
Everyone says we are small fry within the BRICS block yet according to the Global Competitiveness Index; South Africa was ranked as the 53rd most competitive country out of the 148 surveyed in the 2013/14 World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index. South Africa is the ranked second amongst BRICS economies taking over from Brazil that dropped from 48th to 56th place with only China outranking us (29th place).
The main goal of this report is to evaluate countries' economic environment and their ability to achieve sustained levels of prosperity and growth. Things are not so bad if we are outranking world power houses like Russia but you need more right? So here’s more;
South Africa is rated first overall in terms of economic competitiveness out of 38 African countries (Africa Competitiveness Report). It is rated as being on a par with innovative countries such as India and Brazil, with high-quality scientific research institutions, strong investment in research and development, and a significant level of collaboration between business and universities in research. South Africa is rated as the second most innovative African country behind only Tunisia.
Investors seem to think we are doing well, South Africa has been ranked as the leading emerging economy in Africa and the only country on the continent to be ranked in the top 15 worldwide, according to the Emerging Markets Opportunity Index. South Africa ranked 14th overall ahead of countries like Nigeria (17th) with China claiming top spot.
Then there’s the fact that since 1994 South Africa has managed to steady its economy. In 1994 we were recovering from our longest downward phase since 1945, lasting from March 1989 to May 1993. "Confronted by an unsustainable budget deficit and high debt service costs, high inflation, low investor confidence and a run on the currency, government made macroeconomic balance the main focus of economic policy for much of the first five years of democracy."
We’ve had 14 successive years of real GDP growth since 1994. We have also improved global investor confidence through management of inflation down from 18.9% in 1991 to below 6% (Current) as well as the reduction of public sector debt from 44% of GDP in 1994 to less than 20% of GDP in 2008. Looking up so far?
The big ‘c’ word, I honestly feel that we believe South Africa is the most corrupt country in the world. Perhaps Nkandla and the like have given us reason to believe this but what does the world say about this? The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) measures perceived levels of public-sector corruption. in 176 countries and territories.
Countries are ranked on a scale of zero (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived as having low levels of corruption). South Africa scored 43, a matric rate pass (sadly) putting us in 69th position. There is plenty more to be done regarding accountability in government but we are in the top 50 percentile which is not as bad as you thought right?
Access to basic services
Poverty and inequality are plaques that just won’t go away in South Africa but that doesn’t mean that nothing has been done. Between 1996 and 2007 people with access to electricity increased from 58% to 80%. Similarly the number of people with access to water increased from 62% to 88% and sanitation from 52% to 73%. Between 1994 and 2008, 3.1 million housing subsidies were approved, and 2.3 million units were completed. This allowed 9.9 million citizens to access state-subsidised housing opportunities. Of the subsidies, 53% went to women-headed households. (Source: Government’s 15-year Review)
South Africa does not have a nightmarish looking future there are plenty of things that have been done and are currently been done to make this country a better place. So why all the negativity? Do we somehow believe that all this doom’s day talk and the apocalypse will get people motivated. History has shown us it is not negativity that gets people moving in the right direction but positivity.
There is so much to be positive about so why do we choose to focus on what’s negative? Yes, yes I Know that our education system is in a sad state, crime is too high and that police act more like gangsters than law enforces. Nonetheless Like Dr King I also have a dream because there is more right than wrong with South Africa.
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