Two Decades of Freedom Report

Promoting South Africa’s Achievements and Identifying the Challenges That Loom Ahead

A generation after Nelson Mandela led South Africa into a new age of democracy and reform, the country has made decisive structural social and economic advances. But major challenges remain, including widespread inequality and high unemployment, that have prevented many citizens from realizing Mandela’s dream. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of democracy, we conducted an empirical analysis and published a report entitled Two Decades of Freedom: What South Africa Is Doing With It, And What Now Needs To Be Done.

Following a detailed analysis of data and conversations with a broad spectrum of political, business and academic leaders, the report details the country’s 10 areas of structural advances, the 10 major challenges that loom ahead and the 10 key issues that must be addressed.

“We have an opportunity to take a step back and get a long-range factual perspective on the important question, ‘So what has Nelson Mandela’s South Africa done with its freedom?’” said Colin Coleman, Managing Director and head of the South African office. “We hope this report contributes towards a more balanced narrative on South Africa which recently had become somewhat emotionally heated, short-term and often negative. It is vital that government take steps to reduce inequality and increase employment, especially among the youth, and defend the gains made by the African middle class.”

The report concludes that South Africa has taken huge strides over the past two decades and underscores the importance of defending these achievements. At the same time, there is still much work that needs to be done. We urge the government to defend the gains made by the African middle class. We acknowledge that the country still faces significant challenges and believe that they can only be meaningfully addressed through collaborative efforts. Our report identifies opportunities for unity and encourages leaders across all areas to facilitate the teamwork that will reduce inequality, increase employment and improve the country’s global competitiveness.