Alan Hirsch on POWER 98.7: Reflecting on 30 years of economic reform in South Africa


In a recent interview on POWER 98.7, Alan Hirsch, Research Fellow at the New South Institute and Emeritus Professor at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, provided a detailed analysis of South Africa’s economic reforms over the past 30 years. Hosted by Denzil Taylor, the discussion offered insights into the significant changes and ongoing challenges in the country’s governance and economic structures.

Professor Hirsch shared his experiences from his time within the South African government, reflecting on the policies implemented under Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. He discussed his book, “Season of Hope,” which examines the economic reforms during Mandela’s presidency. The book, inspired by a pivotal period of optimism, looks at the hopeful beginnings and the subsequent complexities that unfolded.

During the interview, Hirsch elaborated on the impact of these reforms on various sectors, including education, infrastructure, and public health, acknowledging both achievements and areas where progress has lagged. He highlighted the challenges of addressing inequality and the necessity of fostering economic growth to improve living standards across the nation.

Professor Hirsch also touched on the economic performance of South Africa from 1994 to 2008, the effect of global events like the financial crisis, and the implications of COVID-19 on the country’s economy. He provided a sober view on the transition from high hopes to the harder realities faced today, emphasizing the critical need for strategic policy-making in continuing to move South Africa forward.

For those interested in a comprehensive understanding of South Africa’s economic journey and its future prospects, this interview offers valuable perspectives from a seasoned expert deeply involved in the nation’s governance and economic development. This discussion is essential for anyone looking to grasp the nuances of South Africa’s economic reforms and the road ahead.

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