Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Zumanomics Review for The Independent

My latest book review for The Independent is now on-line here. The book is Zumanomics, edited by Raymond Parsons. This is an extract:

It is indicative of President Jacob Zuma’s larger-than-life personality that so much of the international press coverage of him has ignored what the people of South Africa have elected him to do: run a country of huge income inequality which, despite growth rates of over 5% per annum since 2004, has failed to make any meaningful inroads into reducing poverty. Instead we have heard ad nauseam about the multiple wives, the rape trial in which he claimed he avoided HIV infection by taking a shower, the alleged corruption and the very un-Mbeki like dancing to the campaign anthem ‘Bring Me My Machine Gun’...

Zumanomics can be heavy going, but then it is hard to see how essays on inflation targeting and labour policy could ever be anything else. In all, it is refreshing to read a serious analysis of the problems facing sub-Saharan Africa’s industrial leader, and there are no shortage of lessons for Uganda. It is a popular misconception that the state sell-off of utilities for example, has hurt the Ugandan consumer and harmed the economy. However, a quick glance at the country’s roads should be enough to realise that it is no use putting the state in charge unless it has the capacity to deliver. A focus on effective regulation of the private sector is in fact a far more useful job for the state to play in Africa. Whether that is what Zuma has in mind remains to be seen, but it is certain that the whole continent is watching with great interest.

1 comment:

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