Southern Africa

South Africa

20 years after the first free and democratic elections in the year 1994, South Africa is still the most successful economic power on the continent but also still fighting against a huge wealth gap, high unemployment and crime rates and an increasing level of corruption. The most recent development in South Africa was characterised by extended strikes, especially in mining and the industry, which accounted for the comparatively small economic growth. In the run-up to the parliamentary elections in 2014, several new political parties had emerged. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) won the parliamentary elections on 7 May 2014 with 62.1% (2009 65.9%) of the votes. The focus of South Africa's foreign policy is still on Arica, with politicians involved in mediation efforts in Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Sudan/South Sudan in particular. The military and political involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been stepped up.

In December 2013, the first President (1994 – 1998) of democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela, died and was laid to rest accompanied by great mourning.


After several years of democratic crisis, presidential and parliamentary elections were held in the second half of 2013; Hery Rajaonarimampianina was elected president of the country and order under constitutional law was restored.


The Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) opposition party acted on the threats made since 2012 and started a (limited) armed conflict with the governing FRELIMO party (Mozambique Liberation Front). RENAMO has, however, continued its work in parliament. RENAMO demands an amendment of the electoral law and the complete integration of its former guerilla fighters in the security forces of the state. The government, on the other hand, demands full disarmament of RENAMO. Municipal elections held on 20 November were boycotted by RENAMO. FRELIMO lost many votes to the third of the three largest political parties in the country, MDM (Democratic Movement of Mozambique). Despite this political development and disastrous floods in wide areas of the country at the beginning of 2014, the strong economic growth of Mozambique is continuing which is also reflected in increasing foreign trade relations with other countries including Austria.


The objectives of the government's National Development Plan 2013-2017 include the reduction of poverty, expansion of infrastructure and better access to education and training for young people. Angola is getting increasingly involved in the search for solutions to the conflicts in Africa, especially in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Parliamentary and presidential elections were held in Zimbabwe in July 2013 after a new constitution (agreed by the parties of the Government of National Unity) had been adopted by a great majority in a referendum in March. According to the official election outcome, long-standing president Robert Mugabe (ZANU party) won 61 percent of the votes. While the election process was peaceful, many election observers (AU, SADC), the opposition and civil rights groups claimed that there had been irregularities (of greater or lesser extent). Mugabe's most powerful opponent, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC party (Movement for Democratic Change) criticised irregularities even before the elections. MDC and other opposition parties said the elections were a fraud but did still accept the parliamentary seats gained. The EU suspended the "restricted measures" (frozen accounts and travel restrictions) for all persons with the exception of President Mugabe and his wife in February 2014. Also suspended were the measures taken under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, which makes cooperation with government bodies and provisions of funds from the European Development Fund possible.