Zuma criticises Afro-pessimism

2012-04-11 14:23

Johannesburg - Africa is poised for economic success, but its people need to stop being so pessimistic about its chances, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

"We need Africans to stop being pessimistic about their continent and to be the leading spokespersons and ambassadors," Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery at the fourth International Trade and Investment Conference at Sun City, in North West.

"If we do not believe what we see and experience, the rise of our beloved motherland, why should the rest of the world?" he asked.


In 2010, 42% of sub-Saharan Africa's population was younger than 14-years-old, and by 2050, the continent would be home to one in five of the planet's young people, he said.

Africa would by then have the demographic edge in terms of energetic, increasingly educated young people.

It was predicted that Africa would have the world's largest workforce of 1.2 billion by then, and in that year, one in four workers in the world would be African.

Zuma said this compared with one in eight from China, reversing the present balance.

He was opening the conference, which is hosted by the department of trade and industry.

Zuma said around two thirds of governments in Africa were democratically elected, compared with just eight in 1991.

Six of the world's fastest 10 growing economies were African and in eight of the past 10 years, Africa had grown faster than East Asia.


Zuma said the continent had a long way to go in terms of sanitation and health provision, but that progress was being made economically.

This would produce the resources needed to achieve economic growth and improve the quality of life.

Many reports were predicting the rise of Africa, but some investors were still hesitant, said Zuma. "What is left is for the business sector to grab the opportunity and reap the rewards of this growth, in a manner that promotes inclusive growth, and which creates decent work for the African people."

The spread of good governance and peace gave entrepreneurs the environment to turn ideas into major projects.

"I challenge all Africans today, to accept the fact that their continent is changing," Zuma said.

"They must release themselves from the shackles of self-doubt and celebrate these new developments."

  • ahemsurferosa - 2012-04-11 14:30

    and there i thought it was afro-realism all this time...

      Scebberish - 2012-04-11 15:13

      Whe we had the perfect person to become the leader of today, he suddenly went into private business, he already knew! isnt that right Mr Cyril Ramaphosa

      Alan - 2012-04-11 15:26

      Gosh Mr Zuma ... maybe all the self enrichment and corruption make people a little pessimistic about Africa's chances? It's not like the corroding SA is a beacon of light and hope anymore.

  • Kala - 2012-04-11 14:33

    1) When you have a very low base as a starting point then everything appears faster in percentage terms. ie If you have a 1% growth rate and the next year you have a 2% growth rate the you have doubled it. Not difficult at all 2)With current employment policies I doubt whether we will have 1 in 4 workers in the world. Companies don't want to employ people who don't want to work. 3)With a matric pass requirement of 30% I'm not sure where these increasingly educated people are going to come from. Until the government get serious about education, health, our natural resources, crime, corruption then I don't see how anybody can be realistically optimistic

      johan.vanhoff - 2012-04-11 15:32


      sabongam - 2012-04-11 16:46

      I second you Kala...I truly agree with you and yes I honestly do, but it doesn't mean that we, Africans or S.Africans,should be pessimistic about our continent/country? Given, let's be realistic and critical of our governments and how they govern. So, if we are negative about our country/continent what do we expect other people(Europeans & Asians) to feel about us? Love and be positive about yourself first before others do the same.

  • NrGx - 2012-04-11 14:34

    all fine and well, in fact ill admit, good words (read ad lib no doubt), but heres a thought...HOW ABOUT LEADING BY EXAMPLE ZUMA! stop you cadres STEALING our money and PRODUCE results. being optimistic is great but what is there to optimistic about, when you and other African show NO ETHICS in their leadership and constantly "trodden on" citizens. Lead us into accepting a change in Africa. Actions speak louder than words (bulls***)

      Kala - 2012-04-11 14:41

      In other words, The disbandment of the ANC will greatly increase the South Afro - optimism

  • Thebe - 2012-04-11 14:34

    #1 thing wrong about Africa is Africa's leaders, go and tell young Zimbabwens to be optimistic and positive, how can they be? How can we all be?

      VisionRI - 2012-04-11 14:40

      Listen instead of waiting for hand outs, try by all means to grab your future, a teen from zim doesnt have a ounce of the chance we have to make something of our lives. Before i can complain about the government, i have to consider 1 thing first: what am i doing for me?

      Alan - 2012-04-11 15:33

      well yeah - the 'Grab' part most of the people will get....

  • spartanx93 - 2012-04-11 14:37

    zzzzzzzzz....... oh, what! Sorry zuma. I fail to stay awake when you spew cr@p.

  • Randomhero6661 - 2012-04-11 14:39

    Zuma is different yesterday he said South Africans shouldn't worry now he says AFRICA has a future, not being pessimistic but : YOUTH: Uneducated PROGRESS: Outdated LEADERS: Overstayed their welcomes i however so agree with this part : "They must release themselves from the shackles of self-doubt"

      David - 2012-04-11 15:39

      Don't forgrt the corrupt Govt officials, big party's and ripping off the tax payer

  • anthro45 - 2012-04-11 14:41

    Zuma, Economic success stopped the moment that the likes of you took over. When are you going to see this and let the professionals take over again? You just don't have what it takes. You can only follow and do what is told. You will never be able to lead. It's just not in your fibre.

      Rob - 2012-04-11 14:56

      anthro45. They dont have a clue. Africa is so backward & will never be able to move forward. Some are born to lead & others born to follow. I hate what these people have done to this country post 94. Apartheid was wrong, but white leadership was right. Why cant they see that ? Blinded by hate & envy I suppose !

      Mark - 2012-04-11 15:43

      @Stupid Rob, what do yu mean by 'they'? Please watch Days of Our Lives while matured people are working on mending the pieces apartheid,ZOOMA and other stupid politicians have left

  • Ricky - 2012-04-11 14:46

    He talks rubbish,he's just in Sun City chasing a new bokkie,hope his wives bust him,bloody phillanderer

  • Choene - 2012-04-11 14:53

    U are right cde JZ ,you have changed from our liberators and freedom fighters to our oppressers,sudan,zim,DRC,EGYPT,SA,need I say more.......

  • Jenny - 2012-04-11 14:56

    What we NEED is Africa's leaders to stop being so corrupt and self-serving. We NEED leaders who genuinely want the best for Africa, not to line their own pockets and distribute our taxes to their friends and relatives. What we NEED in South Africa is a non-racist government who will stop casting about to blame minorities for the mess that their corruption causes and who will try and get citizens to pull together as one nation to make South Africa work. What we NEED is education where S.Africans are not conned into voting for crazy populists who make promises that will never be workable and will serve to bring the country to its knees, causing a complete collapse, starvation and death, exactly as in Zimbabwe and Somalia. What we NEED is some good sense and fair policies and opportunities for all South Africans - black and white - to stop our most gifted, talented and dynamic citizens fleeing this country to live in a less hostile environment.

      maseratifittipaldi - 2012-04-11 16:18

      I don't think Arrogance, Nepotism and Corruption can see this clearly, Jenny. To them there is just a need for greed which sows the seed of misery.

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-04-11 14:59

    "It was predicted that Africa would have the world's largest workforce of 1.2 billion by then, and in that year, one in four workers in the world would be African." Most of which won't have a job, and the rest will be paid pathetic wages. Yeah civil unrest is not on it's way.

  • Mark - 2012-04-11 15:02

    Personally I'm a Euro-realist and for what it's worth I'll be very surprised if by 2050, even if Africans are 1 in 4 of the world's workers, 1 in 20 of them are working.

      Lerato - 2012-04-11 15:31

      Go invest your money on Euro bonds and equities then, you will learn tht not everything from Europe is best. Euro economies are on the low, start looking @ BRICS

      Alan - 2012-04-11 16:13

      and I will be pleasantly surprised if the world has not self destructed by 2050 ......

  • Deon - 2012-04-11 15:02

    Energetic educted young people? Not in SA when 50% of scolars don't finish grade 12.

      spartanx93 - 2012-04-11 15:18

      Only time they are energetic is when it comes to destroying things.

      Robsschele - 2012-04-11 15:53

      Toyi toyi when the cameras are on you.

  • Mbuyi Mabuya Maphalala - 2012-04-11 15:02

    Pres Zuma some of us are optimistic patriots of this country

      Scebberish - 2012-04-11 15:08

      yes, some of us are still learning reality....

      Mart - 2012-04-11 15:21

      Based on what...the ANC's successes over the past 18 years ?? I hope you get to live your dream Mbuyi, but don't hold your breath. This country has already been sold down the river and is currently operating with a pseudo government whose strings are being pulled by multinational crime syndicates.

  • Dave - 2012-04-11 15:05

    Why should we be optimistic when theres bandits all over Africa are toppling governments at will?

  • Scebberish - 2012-04-11 15:07

    Pessimistic? Hahahahah.....hehehehe ....hohoho.....Funny!

  • Brad.Kopping - 2012-04-11 15:11

    Well...MAYBE if the ANC wasn so rife corruption and giving off such negativity to the rest of the country and world, we wouldn have such a "pessimestic" tendancy to think that the ANC is other than a disorganised party with its thumb up its ass to know which is it to bloody SUNDAY!! >:( we have every right to hate the ANC!! IDIOT!!!

  • Den - 2012-04-11 15:15

    this guys really going to put our comedians out of work, watch out barry hilton here comes jacob zuma...

  • Mart - 2012-04-11 15:15

    Zuma is smoking dope 'Made in China' ! When his prostrate starts 'tuning howzit' watch him jet off to Singapore as well.

  • Kevin - 2012-04-11 15:18

    Well, give us something to be optimistic about, then.

      Alan - 2012-04-11 15:34

      well - Bob's medical condition may be some cause for optomism....

  • Glyn - 2012-04-11 15:33

    Overpopulation is/will be the cause of mass starvation! Pessimism!

      Glyn - 2012-04-11 15:42

      Only have as many children as you can afford.

      Alan - 2012-04-11 15:47

      er - or as many as the Taxpayers can afford eh Mr Pres.

      Paul - 2012-04-11 21:30

      now that's one thing Africa can take from China's economy. one child if more than that,tax the sh@! out of you.

  • Rob - 2012-04-11 15:36

    I fail to see how population numbers translates into anything else (in the absence of education etc) translates into anything else but famine, disease and starvation. What used to be countries that were bread baskets have become, or are becoming, basket cases.

      Alan - 2012-04-11 15:48

      As long as the Fatcats are ok, who cares?

  • Mark - 2012-04-11 15:37

    Zuma, you're not a Statistian, stop puking data and start to give us informed decisions such as how you are planning to improve the future of the country, how you are going to improve opportunities for young people in the country ( I don't mean temporary public work jobs)

  • Peter - 2012-04-11 15:41

    You sir, are an example of the sort of lighening conductor that attracts such pessimism

  • phathuchicos - 2012-04-11 15:44

    Well "Africans will forever remain slaves to the citizens of first world because God made them for that purpose" according to some rich philosopher tucked away in some splendid luxurious town in Switzerland...and now i witnessing it with the comments, I believe in our president that change in Africa will start from our African mindsets first then will measure how far we can reach ourselves...

      Alan - 2012-04-11 15:48


      Rob - 2012-04-11 21:23

      Maybe the only change you will see in Africa is the rate of deterioration, crime, corruption, and poverty will get worse. Judging from current performance accross the continent I don't see any evidence of much else, and that includes most of the north african countries such as Egypt and Lybia.

  • Pieter Erasmus - 2012-04-11 15:45

    is talking sh@t part of his job description or does it come natural

  • Glyn - 2012-04-11 15:45

    1 in 4 workers in the world will be in Africa. 1 in 4 unemployable workers in the world will be in Africa. 1 in 4 starving workers in the world will be in Africa. Zuma will emigrate to North Korea.

      Alan - 2012-04-11 15:49

      Sh*owerhead Vs Nuclearhead?

  • simbarashe.kwangwari - 2012-04-11 15:46

    Well elaborated President Zuma

      Alan - 2012-04-11 15:52

      er - FYI - the President doesnt even write his own speeches - it's all from the Spin Doctors.

      Rob - 2012-04-11 21:28

      sim.....: Elaborated means planned or carried out with great care, marked by complexity, fullness of detail, or ornateness. Take your time and you may see little elaboration in the article above. Scimpy on realistic detail seems more appropriate

  • Mncedisi - 2012-04-11 15:56

    The future is doom because of corruption, nepotism in the government we as tax payers we got no say in this country yet we get taxed huge amount, the injustice n favoiritism will always gona prevail as long we. Do nt stand up and say its thing that suprises me how can I pay to be hired, government official in every sphere to get assistance u must pay. Am nt sure about the future yet I feel sorry for our kinds. Indeed leaders of vision, intergrity, selfhelpless have gone. Am sure about the future Mr Pres

  • John - 2012-04-11 15:59

    What a crock - this guy needs to get in touch with reality. "By 2050 Africa would by then have the demographic edge in terms of energetic, increasingly educated young people. It was predicted that Africa would have the world's largest workforce of 1.2 billion by then, and in that year, one in four workers in the world would be African. "Zuma said this compared with one in eight from China, reversing the present balance". I wont dispute the numbers BUT The problem is that the 1.2 Billion Africans will struggle to match half of the output of the 600,000 Chinese. Afropessimistic? I think when I listen to JZ I am more Afrosuicidal!

  • Wayne - 2012-04-11 16:03

    JZ, sadly its because of the historical performance of African countries in general, that afro-pessismism exists. Perhaps nows the time for Africa to prove its critics wrong?

      Alan - 2012-04-11 16:14

      .... according to Wayne's World....

  • zaatheist - 2012-04-11 16:03

    Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha * pause for breath * ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa! Hee hee. HAAAA ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *choke * BWA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA CRASH! (the sound of me falling on the floor)

      rouxve - 2012-04-11 16:18

      Vra vi juliaaaaaaaaaaaas hys altyd reg

  • Frank - 2012-04-11 16:37

    The "Afro-pessimism" Zuma was referring to is a new hairstyle thats coming out. He does'nt care a toss about what the people think or feel!

  • Norman - 2012-04-11 16:45

    Please stop comparing us to China unless you are willing to treat the 'workers' in this country the same way the average Chinese labourer is treated... Union? Don't be silly. Living wage? That's ridiculous... They really seem to think idolizing China's economic ascent is the right way to go, I think if the ANC constituents knew what China was really about they'd drop support instantly...

  • Morama - 2012-04-11 17:50

    "What is left is for the business sector to grab the opportunity and reap the rewards of this growth, in a manner that promotes inclusive growth, and which creates decent work for the African people." The prewzzi is not reffering to Khulubuse and the likes cz if that's so,this country is in big K@@@@k!!!

  • davy.botha - 2012-04-11 20:24

    Yes we could be optimistic but then we require progressive indications and not regressive results.South Africa has been battling with it's high un-employment for decades and still no positive outcomes.To have the biggest work force in the world will then also require the biggest job providers in the world.If we lived a microcosim no problem but we are part of the global village and thus compete at this level and then should look at what we are competing against. We tend to follow trends of first world countries but we have the majority part of third world socio conditions thus should we not try to eleviate this first, and this than means to out perform countries wich are willing to pay there workers less just to attract foreign investment. If any politician and union can justify why foreing companies will come to South Africa or what benefits they will get let them let them but the realism is what was a advantage are very surely diminishing.

  • Rob - 2012-04-11 20:36

    Today there have been two reports on News 24 about white people being killed in their homes by black criminals. OK, some will say that there is more crime in black communities and some will say that the incidence of violence by blacks simply reflects the population demographics in SA. Well now think about how much more black on white crime there is going to be in 2050 when the population of SA is approaching 100 million! Come on Mr Zuma, do something about the crime before they form a majority political party.......or have they done that already????!

  • Paul - 2012-04-11 21:09

    the problem in Africa is quite simple. there only so many countries but within those countries we have a few hundred tribes or sects then with in those groups we have a few thousand chiefs or leaders then within those under them a few million wannabe militant brothers. so too many chiefs too little Indians scenario. too much greed overlooks the the poverty of the masses.

  • Ester - 2012-04-11 22:05

    One look at your sly face and there will never be economic success in this country, sinking futher and futher into the mudd...

  • Blip - 2012-04-12 02:16

    Africa already has far too many mouths it can't ever feed and so it must rely on the rich white West for food aid to avert catastrophe. Biafra, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Mali etc etc ... More mouths only mean worse famine, not more wealth, Zuma.

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