Over 90 heads of state are planning to visit South Africa this week to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. Mandela’s memorial service will take place Tuesday, December 10th, and today we would like to share some examples of the work IESC has done in South Africa since 1992.
We are proud to have led two programs in South Africa under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This included the JPMorgan-funded IESC program that operated primarily in Kwa Zulu Natal in 2004-2005 helping local enterprises plan for and survive the impact of HIV/AIDS in their workforce and leadership. It also included a USAID-funded program, which IESC implemented in 2004 in partnership with the South Africa Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (SABCOHA), designed to mitigate the economic impact of HIV/AIDS on Micro, Small & Medium-sized Businesses through increasing access to better health, legal and business advice.
From 2005-2008, we led a $4 million USAID-funded project for the Volunteers for Economic Growth (VEGA) consortium designed to create jobs in historically disadvantaged agribusinesses and small and medium enterprises. In parallel with that effort, we implemented the Africa Fast Track Trade Program (AFTT) from 2004 to 2007. This program promoted exports, economic growth and prosperity in countries eligible for preferential treatment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. AFTT helped 198 companies and in 2007 alone, a sample of our clients reported generating over $145 million in new export deals around the world. None of these programs would have been possible in South Africa without the changes wrought by Nelson Mandela.
While the world mourns his loss, it is worth highlighting some of the encouraging trends in Africa that Mandela and a new group of African leaders he inspired are helping to bring about:
“Every three years, life expectancy on the continent increases by a year.”
(Renaissance Capital, July 2013)
“11 out of the 20 fastest growing countries globally are in sub-Saharan Africa."
(The World Bank, January 2013)
“Almost two-thirds of Africans think this year will be better than last, double the European rate."
(The Economist, March 2013)