Corporate Governance: South Africa, A Pioneer in Africa
1 January 2005
Africa is a continent which continues to suffer from high poverty rates and disease. While 30 years ago the average income in sub-Saharan Africa was twice that of both South and East Asia, Africa's is now well below half that of East Asia. There has been a very frank appraisal by Africans of the weaknesses and shortcomings of African states and of leaders themselves. Africa's reassessment of itself has been matched by greater engagement from the North on these issues in a more urgent and immediate manner than previously. Nepad recognises the important role that the North can and should play in helping Africa to overcome poverty and low economic growth. However, reforming African leaders have also acknowledged that more aid or trade barrier reductions from the North will not be sufficient to pull the continent's poor out of poverty. A complementary commitment by African governments to improve the quality of governance is also required.The first report in the series focuses on the development of a code of corporate governance in South Africa.In South Africa, the King reports provide guidelines for both private companies and SOEs. These self-regulatory initiatives have placed South Africa among those in the top rank of emerging market economies that follow corporate governance codes. Yet, even in South Africa questions can be raised as to whether there is sufficient institutional capacity to implement the codes.