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Tutwa Newsletter: Domestic agenda vs Global imperatives? | July 2019

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Dear reader,

In the past month, President Cyril Ramaphosa represented South Africa at the Osaka (Japan) G20 Summit (28-29 June 2019) and then travelled to Niamey, Niger for the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He presided over the First Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities, having earlier convened a trilateral meeting of African leaders to discuss Africa’s priorities for the Summit with African Union chair, Egypt, and Senegal (Nepad president). President Ramaphosa takes on the role of Chair of the African Union in 2020, so this provides a sneak preview of what this role will encompass.

Back home, the local, but no less riveting political and legal wrangling has unfolded between the Public Protector and the President, and the Public Protector and Minister Gordhan. This has been viewed as a series of troubling events, but as one political commentator has put it: these are signs that the state of South Africa’s democracy is well! To illustrate this, Tutwa considered the robust debate after President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Coordinating industrial and trade policy by Heinrich Krogman).

All is, however, not so well with the state of our economy - hence the Reserve Bank Governor’s small 25 basis points of relief to those of us who have debt. Perhaps there is a bit of relief for the fiscus with a small decrease in the number of ministers and deputy ministers (A lean mean cabinet by Anna Ngarachu). Tutwa considers how the current cabinet is equipped to help us out of our economic quagmire (Developmental State-inspired Cabinet by Azwimpheleli Langalanga).

While slow global growth is a reality at the moment, there are some decidedly good news stories involving South Africa – including our ratification of the AfCFTA. This symbolises our commitment to continental integration, despite the lengthy process that we have ahead. With integration comes the opportunity to extend our market across Africa, enhancing opportunities for trade and connectedness. How Africa, and pertinently South Africa, respond to the youth employment imperative and works towards greater youth and women’s inclusiveness in new technologies will be important to watch (New skills for Africa's future by Phindile Ndlovu).

A brief window: coordinating industrial and trade policy

Heinrich Krogman
There is broad consensus that in order to address South Africa’s triple threat of poverty, inequality and unemployment the economy needs to grow; at least at a rate higher than the population. But this has not been the case for a number of quarters and with the projected growth rate for 2019 having been revised down again, it seems unlikely …
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Developmental State inspired Cabinet

Azwimpheleli Langalanga
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet announcement had a lukewarm reception. This was mostly because President Ramaphosa while introducing new faces to his team, also maintained a lot of old hands. The South African cabinet is organised into clusters that talk to different sectoral focus. These clusters were established with a view to improving inter-departmental coordination within government. These are following cabinet …
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A lean mean Cabinet?

Anna Ngarachu
The leaner looking Cabinet has been trimmed down through the merger of several ministries. As a result, President Cyril Ramaphosa reduced the size of his cabinet by eight ministers (from 36 to 28) and reduced one deputy minister post. In the past, there has been a perception that selections were very much subjective based on presidential preference. Clearly, there was …
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News skills for Africa's future

Phindile Ndlovu
President Ramaphosa’s June 2019 State of the Nation Address emphasised the need to transform South Africa’s education system. He went further, highlighting that one of Africa’s most urgent challenges is the exclusion of the continent’s youth cohort from any consideration in debates about Africa’s development processes. The 2019 Mo Ibrahim Forum Report had earlier argued much the same point: it …
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Tutwa in the media

Our Senior Political analyst, Azwimpheleli Langalanga shared insights at SABC News on the WTO rules against the United States in trade war dispute with China. Watch the interview here
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