Annual report 2012
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In much of the global South the instability in global financial systems continued to have dire effects – and there were many worrying signs that the serious food price inflation the world experienced in 2008 would return. In sub-Saharan Africa, policy-makers and investors continued to emphasise that agriculture is central to inclusive economic growth in the region. While this was accompanied by much optimistic talk about the supposed benefits of a ‘green revolution’ in Africa, it is unclear whether many of the projected investments will materialise. In the absence of an understanding of the complex political economy of inequality and hunger in the region, it is unlikely that technical fixes alone will reduce poverty. In South Africa, there was modest progress in the management of poverty but no success in addressing the root causes of massive structural unemployment and inequality. Land, agrarian and rural development policy continued to languish in the doldrums. There was little clarity about the status of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s disappointing 2011 Green Paper; there were significant doubts about the long-term implementability and scalability of the Comprehensive Rural Development Plan, and controversial proposals embodied in the Traditional Courts Bill caused widespread concern.