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Growth Interrupted

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South Africa has traditionally been regarded by investors as a gem in an otherwise troubled region, but with an energy crisis threatening economic growth and with the government plagued by corruption scandals, the gem may be losing some of its luster. Analysts, however, say the country is laying the groundwork for a speedy recovery. During a televised speech before parliament in February, president Thabo Mbeki apologized to the nation for a nationwide energy shortage that has unleashed frequent power outages. Mbeki's emergency response plan calls for the rapid development of gas-turbine plants that, though less efficient, can be built relatively quickly. The overall economic impact on South Africa is yet to be determined, though outlooks remain mixed. Corporate Council on Africa president and CEO Stephen Hayes contends there is a prevailing assumption that South Africa will reach its targets over the next five years, though.

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