South Africa appears to be mired in a cycle of modest growth, high inequality and record unemployment. This, despite an exemplary record on macroeconomic management and deepening integration with the global economy.
Inflation remains nestled within the target range of 3-6 percent and fiscal and debt management outcomes have been impressive.
Remarkably, there is broad political consensus on the issue of macroeconomic stability, recent calls for a looser stance by the labor unions notwithstanding.
A sustained pattern of high, broad-based and inclusive growth is yet to emerge, however. Despite a pick-up in per capita GDP growth from negative rates to an average of 1.6 percent per year during 1994-2011, per capita GDP is currently only 10 percent higher than in 1980: a period over which other developing countries have seen much more meaningful increases in their income levels.