Now that the world has it’s eyes gazed elsewhere following the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Southern African states will begin to show frustration at the performance of their governments. In the last few months, there have been protests and riots in Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. All revolve around the cost of living and remuneration, threats to jobs, and service deliveries.
In Zambia, mine workers will protest against the outsourcing of jobs by Konkola Copper Mines that will leave upwards of 170 directly redundant. In Zimbabwe, teachers went on strike paralysing the state education system citing low pay. In South Africa, after the US$3.7 billion 2010 FIFA World Cup, the chickens have come to roost with public servants in the education and health delivery sectors causing a stand still with their demands for an 8.7% wage hike, 1.7% points higher than the government offer. In Mozambique, protests have turned violent with 4 confirmed deaths and over 150 injured with anger against rising costs of living, in particular the 30% increase in the cost of bread.
SADC is home to some of the most vibrant economies on the continent, Mozambique grew by 7.2% in the first half of 2010, South Africa is the wealthiest country in Africa, Zimbabwe has incredible scope for growth after nearly a decade of recession, Zambia is investing in infrastructure and can ride the copper commodity boom, this is a time for shared prosperity.
Failure for SADC to integrate their economies deeper like the East African Community leads to increased economic risks. Governments are now forced to cave in to wage demands, which in time will push up inflation. South Africa has a yoke on its neck with it’s inflation targeting regime that has produced jobless growth. Whilst the EAC has aligned their economies closer, there are fewer risks and increased collective scope to grow, maybe this discontent should force SADC to do the same.