south africa

My personal relationship with South Africa has been of well being and peace, as soon I disembarked from the plane in Johannesburg at the middle of 80ties, having my clock the same time of Milan, and the same day. The special light, the dry climate always spring type, the flowers, the immensity of horizons, the people of different origins and colours:everything was beauty and peace for my soul.

With a nice University colleague teaching OR, after a visit at his home, quite XVI century Holland farm, where I tasted local traditional food, went by car in a long trip to Durban.

In a complete different environment on the Indian Ocean, I had the opportunity to participate to a Zulu professors of OR Congress, vibrant of young energies and hopes for the future of the country. Along the trip we stopped for visiting beautiful reserves with the last white rhinoceros, but I was mostly impressed by giraffes, always visible in the bush with their gentle moving.

Same positive impression I received visiting ten years after the office of my consulting multinational company, speaking to the local group of Change Management, meeting nice Portuguese young fellow, escaped from near Angola for local revolution supported by Cuban army. At least i returned after apartheid finishing in 2000, to study a possible building of a sugar beet sugar factory in Port Elizabeth, delicious English type city on the extreme south border to Antarctic see, where seals arrive a bit tired on the beach with you.

Travelling in this vaste region, remembering hills of South Piemonte, but with large green canyons, has been an additional pleasure experience, with some sadness atmosphere in villages already involved in HIV spreading from Congolese immigration.

Four times the surface of Italy, with a population of 50 million, 10% white, 2% Indians, big heritage of Zulu and Xhosa ethnic groups, South Africa has a nominal GDP per capita of 6000$, equivalent in PPP to 16000$, quite Mediterranean figure. It’s the second richest State of Africa after Nigeria, but with a higher living standard. The main factors pushing its role as Global Player are:

1. Economic powerhouse: South Africa is the most developed economy in Africa and is considered one of the emerging markets. With a substantial manufacturing and services sector, it is home to several multinational corporations. South Africa’s economic strength gives it a significant geopolitical advantage and influence over its neighbors.

2. Regional integration: South Africa plays an influential role in regional organizations such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), comprised of 16 countries.

3. Extractive industries: South Africa is rich in natural resources, particularly precious minerals like gold and diamonds. It has the world’s largest reserves of platinum group metals, playing a crucial role in global mining and extraction. The country’s mineral resources have attracted significant foreign investment and also play a role in shaping its geopolitical relationships.

4. Diplomatic influence: South Africa has a history of strong international diplomacy, particularly as it relates to issues of decolonization and racial equality. It became a global symbol of the struggle against apartheid, and Nelson Mandela’s leadership as the country’s first black president elevated South Africa’s international standing. As a member of the United Nations, African Union, and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the country actively participates in global governance and regional security issues.

5. Regional conflicts and peacekeeping: South Africa has been actively involved in peacekeeping efforts across the African continent. Its military and diplomatic contributions have helped resolve conflicts in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Mozambique.

On these basis and its recent active role in peace initiatives for Ukrainian war, also relaunching BRICS structures and policies, South Africa will acquire a more significant Global weight, exercising a positive leadership for all African development path. Of course my hope is that it will remain a natural paradise of beauty for the next generations, not exploiting too much the enormous reserves of territory, farming, animals and the variety of its landscape.