South Africa great power status: prospects and challenges
Great power can be studied in terms of the logic of small-number systems. Since South Africa is conceived to be a “leader”, it is also expected to demonstrate its leadership capacity on the continent. The purpose of this study was determining prospects and challenges of South Africa in a move to accomplish great power status. The objective of the study was to examine the prospects and challenges of South Africa great power status by examining South Africa military capabilities, South Africa’s industrial/economic development and if they qualify as great power; South Africa’s political stability, issues of ideology, foreign policy and democratization. The study descriptively analyzed the relationship between South Africa and other African countries through an “inside-out” approach. South Africa as a country was evaluated in order to see whether it has the capacity to successfully lead a hegemonic project of regional development. The study mainly relied on secondary data sources obtained from books, journals, government briefs, Newspapers, NGO publications and internet sources. In addition interviews with foreign policy experts served as an illustration to strengthen the overall study. The study concluded that South Africa is Africa’s largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with a diverse economy, and a government that has played an active role in promoting regional peace and stability, hence it is poised to have a substantial impact on the economic and political future of Africa. However, there are still opportunities to address the core problems behind contemporary political violence. Therefore foreign policy, being an extension of national policy and interests, is an important component in South Africa’s strategy for development and social purposes. The study recommends increased capacity building in terms of highly skilled human capital to propel South Africa to greater heights of economic prosperity. More fundamental course corrections are needed to steady South Africa’s political stability and extinguish the slow-burning fuses that threaten long-term stability: Expand Socioeconomic Opportunities through sustained investments in building effective health, education, housing, sanitation service institutions and private sector job creation; Reduce Patronage Opportunities by eliminating a political culture with the opportunities for wealth and influence that accrue to politicians.