South Africa Worries Mount

Pressure mounts on Trump administration to intercede.
Pressure mounts on Trump administration to intercede.

South Africa faces potential economic calamity if it moves ahead with the seizure of largely white-owned farmland, analysts warned this week, as global investors reacted to a plan that government leaders say is necessary to correct decades-old wrongs of apartheid that left deep, systemic wealth inequalities and land ownership disparities along racial lines.

South African economic analysts and U.S. observers say the country risks inviting the kind of devastation that left neighboring Zimbabwe’s economy in ruins after a similar forced expropriation scheme targeting some of the country’s most productive farmland.

Officials with South Africa’s state-owned Land Bank reportedly warned Tuesday that the plan could cost the government as much as $2.8 billion in payouts because of a specific clause on expropriation of land.

Amid growing media coverage of the land grab program, the Trump administration faced growing pressure to speak and immediately suspend South Africa’s status in the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which gives the country vital access to U.S. markets.

The looming economic storm stands in stark contrast with the pro-market promises of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as he came to power in February and has repeated throughout his tenure. He vowed that the country’s economy would grow and that he would bring newfound credibility to the South African government, even while calling the sharp inequality over land ownership a “festering wound” from the apartheid era.

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See Also:

(1) South Africa land crisis: Trump orders ‘close watch’ of seizures amid ‘killing of farmers’

(2) South African politicians resist Trump’s ‘falsehoods’ about South Africa

(3) Good chance of a South African recession this year: economists

(4) Land expropriation: South Africa may face US intervention, says American analyst

(5) Trump Sends South African Rand Reeling With a Tweet

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