There's still a lot going for South Africa - if the country can learn to maximise opportunities, according to Lord Peter Hain.
Addressing a panel as part of the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development (USB-ED) discussion on the growth prospects of South Africa under President Cyril Ramaphosa, Hain argued that South Africa has all the potential it needs - it just needs to be unleashed.
The former UK cabinet minister has long associations with SA. He was born here and – along with his parents – was a well-known anti-apartheid activist.
During the USB-ED presentation, Hain argued that South Africa by no means operates in isolation. He stressed that the issue of Brexit is impacting SA's imports and exports, especially as Britain is SA's second biggest trading partner. In his view, US President Donald Trump's trade wars are having a similar effect.
Hain called for the "sorting out" of cronyism, especially in public administration and public enterprises, in order to regain investor confidence in SA.
In his view, education must be addressed in the country. SA ranks 138 out of 140 countries in terms of the global School Performance Index, which Hain attributed to poor standards, bad relationships, and corruption, among other things.
Lastly, Hain suggested SA capitalise more on its potential to become a world leader in renewable energy.
"I still think there's a lot going for this country; a lot of energy, a lot of potential, a lot of natural resources, a lot of entrepreneurship waiting to be unleashed, a strong civil society, a strong Constitution, and an independent judiciary," said Hain.
"There are not many countries in the world that can boast those things. So, maximise those opportunities to drive the country forward and growth will follow naturally."