At Nelson Mandela’s memorial yesterday, President Obama hailed the former South African President as “the last great liberator of the 20th century”.
He is also being remembered for the formidable role he played in building up Africa’s largest economy. Mandela famously believed in the link between economic and political progress, and as a result, South Africa’s gross domestic product grew from less than 1.5 % from 1980 to 1994 to almost 3 % from 1995 to 2003. South Africa is now proudly the “S” in BRICS, and its economy is still going strong 20 years after Mandela first came to power.
Aside from all this, Mandela ensured that South Africa became an important source of economic opportunity for its neighbouring countries too. It can be argued that their successes, in turn, influenced the rest of the continent. Mandela was certainly therefore the great liberator of Africa. According to the latest statistics by the IMF, the continent’s economy is projected to have grown by 4.8% in 2013 and accelerate further to 5.3% in 2014. He didn’t merely bring South Africa into the global economy, but was key in making sure the rest of Africa would also thrive one day.
Last but certainly not least, it is important to note the effect that Mandela had on successive generations of investors, who in order to support him in his struggle against apartheid, came to recognize the power of investment to change things for the better, as well as the impact sustainable and responsible investments could have on anything from fighting injustice to empowering women and combating climate change.
Nelson Mandela has therefore left us with resounding legacies and the world is undoubtedly a much better place thanks to him.