South Africa’s economy, which was already in a precarious state before Covid-2019, has been tipped into full blown crisis by the pandemic. Gross national government debt is expected to be upwards of 86% within two years. Eskom, which is the country’s state-owned monopolistic and vertically integrated electricity utility, is a key driver of this escalating debt profile and lies at the heart of the economy’s structural challenges.
Informed by the discussions at an international conference jointly organised by the German Development Institute, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Stanford University on “Emerging Power or Fading Star? South Africa’s Role on the Continent and Beyond”, held 12–14 July 2016 in Cape Town, the articles gathered in this edition of Perspectives shed light on some of the nuances and challenges that define South Africa’s place in the world today.