WEF: 'Africa can't eat democracy'

WEF: 'Africa can't eat democracy'

2010-05-07 13:22

Dar es Salaam – Democracy in Africa is inextricably tied to the continent’s economic development, said President Jacob Zuma on Friday at the 20th World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa.

Speaking at a discussion on democracy, Zuma said it was meaningless if a country obtained democracy but poverty was still present. “People can’t eat democracy,” he said.

According to Zuma, economic development must also be democratised so that a nation can enjoy its benfits.

“That’s one of the things that Africa has not yet been able to achieve,” he said.

“In South Africa , for example, we have democracy and everyone is happy about it, but because of the economic circumstances ordinary people feel we have not done enough yet, and they have no hesitation about coming out on the streets and insisting that we must deliver [on our promises].”

The fact that the economy is now in the process of recovering will help to solve these problems, Zuma said. The needs of the majority of the population, who are poor, must be addressed for democracy to strengthen.

“As long as economic development on the continent doesn’t improve, democracy cannot become well established. People who are hungry aren’t interested in listening to fine speeches.”

 - Sake24.com

  • TaxPayer - 2010-05-07 13:30

    Democracy is also worthless if Malema and his BEE millionaire buddies and the taxi industry dont pay their taxes and SARS lets them get away with it.

  • Juan - 2010-05-07 13:35

    people can't eat corruption either

  • whataloadabull - 2010-05-07 13:36

    Oh my goodness- Now we cant eat Democracy - Democracy is the freedom to go out and work hard and in return feed and develop yourself but as always Africa wants to be fed for nothing. Nothing beats hard work ny friends - Not 8 people in a work party on the side of the road and only 2 are actually doing the graft. Come on Africa roll up your sleeves and get to work

  • John - 2010-05-07 13:41

    It is exactly because people in Africa either do not have democracy, or alternatively does not understand the power they have because of democracy that things are as they are.

  • john - 2010-05-07 13:44

    But surely THROUGH democracy, the masses will be enriched - thats the message that should be filtered down to the man on the street. Without democracy, all enrichment stays at the very top, wich is clearly evident all over africa.

  • StandardWhat - 2010-05-07 13:44

    I suppose dictatorship will feed the poor.

  • ian - 2010-05-07 13:45

    Well essentially I agree with our president. I however, do not agree that Africa has embraced democracy in earnest. If they had, how come President Mugabe is still in power; howcome Kenya does not have a new government. Howcome?????. That is the story of AFrica - once in power cling to it by any means whatsoever and never mind the opinion of your voter. Governments do not focus on delivering to the populace. It is about SELF ENRICHMENT only.

  • Donovan - 2010-05-07 13:45

    The ANC have been doing this since 94.. (Sweet talk)

  • A South African - 2010-05-07 13:45

    Mr Zuma, you are surprizing thw world, as well s many South AFricans who didn't support you. But your ideas, like the one above is what africa needs. adressing the peoblems right at their roots, by keeping it simple. I never thought I would say this; but well done! MAke a differnce, Fairly!

  • Mel - 2010-05-07 13:47

    “People can’t eat democracy,” aka GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASSES AND START WORKING

  • Chris - 2010-05-07 13:50

    a fine speech mr president, a fine speech

  • TSHEPO-O - 2010-05-07 13:50

    well said my president, as a true african i am proud of my president but now he has to act and enforce the stuff he says so that those who are not benefiting from the economy start benefiting and those that who have been benefiting well their benefits must come to a complete stop now, its time for others to share the spoils now

  • Generaal - 2010-05-07 13:51

    And these guys drive multi-million Rand cars?

  • gatvol - 2010-05-07 13:55

    Dear President Zuma I would congratulate you on your great insight in stating that Africa cannot eat democracy. However, Democracy creates an environment in which free trade and business flourishes. Capital is a coward - it flees risk. Nationalisation (or even talk of it by prominent members of the government) of ANYTHING increases the risk profile of any country - which bank wants to lend money for an investment if the asset it is financing can be nationalised? Secondly, (South) Africa cannot eat BEE. BEE creates a complicated and convuluted environment for especially foreign investors, and therefore reduces the investment in (south)africa. Furthermore, any future growth is dependant on the human capital we as a continent have. It is allready very tempting for a young qualified person to go and work in Europe for Euro in a much safer environment - if the graduate is also battling to get work and knows he/she will never get to the top due to BEE, the descision to leave is so much easier. And lastly, corruption (and other crime)is the worst scourge destroying this continent of ours. We can see the negative effects of this in Angola, Zimbabwe, and South Africa...

  • Geanann - 2010-05-07 13:55

    An undemocratic SA and Zimbabwe fed their people and supplied food to the democratic neigbours. Since the advent of democracy we cannot feed our people and life expectancy are down from 61 to 47.

  • Geanann - 2010-05-07 14:00

    An undemocratic SA and Zimbabwe fed their people and their Democratic neighbours. With the advent of democracy, hope turned to despair. People are starving and dying and food is imported. Life expectancy in SA has dropped from 61 in 1994 to 48 in 2009.

  • Bob2000 - 2010-05-07 14:02

    Wasnt it the ANC that said revolution before education. Is it possible that they now starting to realize their mistakes?

  • malamu - 2010-05-07 14:02

    Correct Pres Zuma, that is why African leaders feed on corruption, they can't make economic development for all a reality. Once they have plundered what exists, the fighting for power intensifies and the downward cycle co ntinues.

  • anon - 2010-05-07 14:03

    As long as the dictators and kleptocrats continue sucking Africa dry, of course there will be no improvement in the lot of the poor. But that's not what you meant, was it JZ?

  • Fouche - 2010-05-07 14:03

    Well, Jacob... wake up call for you! If you continue to allow the Genocide on Afrikaners, and more specifically, the white farmers, THEN SOON YOU WILL EAT NOTHING!

  • Jake - 2010-05-07 14:05

    Paving the way for nationalization?

  • Leviathan - 2010-05-07 14:08

    @Jacob Zuma and the ANC: Africa can also not eat, empty promises, corruption, and fine speeches which the ANC are so good at dishing out (pun intended) It's time for the ANC to catch a wake-up.

  • Bennie - 2010-05-07 14:08

    "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it." ~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

  • ockert@ncc-cla.com - 2010-05-07 14:10

    Democracy in Africa is a very fragile "thing" it can crumble within seconds. That is one of the stumbling blocks major investors have with this country.

  • CYNICAL SIMON - 2010-05-07 14:15

    People can eat communism and gorge on marxism.

  • LittleNinjaDevil - 2010-05-07 14:16

    all I get from this is that the governments wants everyone in the country to be on the same level. wake up that is what a communist state is. Arent we supposed to be a free market economy country

  • Andrew - 2010-05-07 14:21

    Africa is Africa no matter what the ANC Government does, absolule corrupt all talk and no action and still they vote for them and praise their down fall all in the name of freedom fighters absolute brainwashed welcome to the begging bowl.

  • BT - 2010-05-07 14:22

    Simple solution. You first need proper democracy, then you need to stop stealing (yes you included Zuma), and finally you need to actually get off your lazy backsides and do some work. Striking every second day, doesn't feed anybody either! Theres one thing these Africa "leaders" do well, and thats sitting around in fancy conference centres talking garbage!

  • Robert Mugabe - 2010-05-07 14:22

    Dear Jacob, I will be the first to admit, that i have tried dictorship in my country without success. The economy was better before i started with my autocratic ways. You of all the poeple should at least learn from my ways. Good luck with your country. Robert Bob.

  • 1 - 2010-05-07 14:23

    How does one democratise economic development Zuma? Do you mean we should all have a say in how the fiscal policy is implemented? Like democracy in countries with high inequality in general, you can't please the majority when the power is controlled by the minority.

  • J - 2010-05-07 14:24

    What a joke...what will africa eat if the they what they did in ZIM?

  • EB - 2010-05-07 14:25

    Not until we divorce politics and the business of running municipalities and delivering on what we ordered when we voted, will we get to enrich the poor. Another question must also be answered. What does it mean to be enriched? Does it mean DSTV on the side of a shack or electricity to warm your RDP house with? Or does it mean that your children have an education and better opportunities than you?

  • TMM - 2010-05-07 14:25

    Democracy depends on an informed consent. You can't have democracy if the people don't have the full understanding of what democracy is. Inform the nation, educate them, stop this communist/socialist bEE policies and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship amongst the people. In that way, income will be secured and out nation will be on a positive growth trend. Right now I'm am not too satisfied with how things work in SA. if we are to be like Europe, we'll have to adopt their work ethic not just their money. Smarten up Mr. President! Implement laws that will maximize knowledge amongs South Africans. Money is a consequence of hard work. We can't just get money, we need to work very hard for it. The poor people that don't want to work and continously blame the past will eventually die off and the productive hard working peoople shall prevail. It's the cruelity of life and we'll have to live with it.

  • mark - 2010-05-07 14:26

    "Africa can’t eat democracy" thats true. We cant eat empty promises either. Why don't you stop complaining about the problems you brought upon yourself to the rest of the world, get off your overpaid priveleged arse and do something about it. The world cares nothing about our failing education, power supply, water supply sewage system, road infrastracture, borders, parastatals, etc. We scare away foreign investment with tales of nationalisation and BEE. And the companies that are already here will just close up shop. Then we will see what real poverty is like. Blacks always complain about white imperialists and their white tendencies on the one hand, but then beg for handouts and assistance from the same white imperialists with the other hand.

  • Horza - 2010-05-07 14:31

    Same with Fascism, Theocracy, Marxism, Socialism, Dictatorship and Monarchy. And like Juan sez neither corruption.

  • nigel - 2010-05-07 14:33

    Yup, he right, but you cant achieve economic prosperity without, education, skills development, Foreign Direct Investment, productivity, trade... in other words..an environment that is safe, stable, productive & progressive. A set of democratic rules wont get you there, there is much more to a successful democracy than a few principles or rules. So what Mr Zuma should be saying is..we cant eat democracy...we have to work hard, be productive, we have to educate ourselves, & create a society that is tollerent, has values & ethics, honesty & integrity, an environment that is safe for all, we have to be efficient, not make costly mistakes & make the most of our limited resources, only then will we be successful, prosperous & happy.

  • LEON - 2010-05-07 14:36

    @Bennie - great quote! Mr President, "People can't eat democracy" because we have a tussle of ideologies like nationalism that we tuck behind the skirts of democracy... and we have a corrupt government and therefore not a true democracy, deal with the rot, and soon there'll be enough for everyone to eat and democracy can truly flourish

  • Vezarigo - 2010-05-07 14:43

    Well said President Zuma - Pity everyone including you could not realise that when former President honourable T. Mbeki. Now suddenly Zuma and the REST OF THE ANC realises the cold hard fact of Democracy. Some of their complaint about Mbeki was that he was forever abroad now let's see if Zuma will remain here in SA when he actually need to engage and create economic ties with other contries in order to boost our economy.

  • alan - 2010-05-07 14:43

    I like punk music. There is a punk band called NOFX who illustrate a point in one of their songs with a phrase "Majority rule, don't work in mental institutions." Does democracy work when people actually don't know what's best for them? I think that people should have to qualify to vote. By passing matric. Or Getting a degree. And those who don't qualify, trust those who know what they are doing to regulate who and how the country is controlled, without giving corrupt, smoothtalking, song singing, buffoons who spray Moet Champagne on them the chance to further their own personal interests.

  • THE MAN - 2010-05-07 14:43

    What is the president thinking!? If he is suggesting that we move away from democracy then i think we are all doomed. For the first time as an african i am afraid for my people.

  • Wisdom - 2010-05-07 14:43

    Mr Zuma, you've got 7 months to sort out this country ... better be prepared

  • FOUR - 2010-05-07 14:46

    Freedom is here, I can study what i want and stay where i want and also work for White or Black owned company. What more do we want??????????????? Zuma, just accept that South Africans are Lazy.

  • the prodigy - 2010-05-07 14:48

    You can't eat land either... 90% of the ANC Govt. farmland distribution to development "farmers", are not productive & are a disaster, you have to get off you backside, learn how to farm, & work damn hard for the rest of your life to make a living, thats what you need, so Mr president, don't be ambigious, wealth creation is the solution, not welfare or wealth distribution, & make sure that when given a chance (like development farmers) they actually take it & be productive.

  • John Stone - 2010-05-07 14:48

    President has spoken, very relevantly about Economic Development. President Zuma is not an idiot like many of us herein, he knows that the WEF is the right platform to push for economic matters. Most of the postings herein are addressing very important matters but irrelevant to the WEF where President Zuma was speaking. Issues such as corruption, tax collection by SARS are not for the WEF, but domestic matters. Already President Zuma has asked those incharge of legislation to come up with changes that will speed up the process of prosecutions in corruption matters. There are matters of national importance that we must all pull in the same direction, no need for stupid insults and undermining each other. Most of those opposed to the ANC should learn to draw the line between state business and party business. So far President Zuma and his cabinet have made the right noises, they know what needs to be done and the better we too play our role to make South Africa a success and move away from this obbssession with the Anti-ANC rhetoric or Malema who is not even in govt. I am happy the ANC is not obssessed with your AWB and other rightwing terror groups, they are heavily armed and are full of wartalk, yet you never hear Zuma or the ANC dragging them to equality courts like your Afriforum and Zille who are obssessed with Malema, yet ignoring racist terror groups who pose a greater risk to our democratic state.

  • zama - 2010-05-07 14:50


  • gee - 2010-05-07 14:52

    It was in fact the lack of democracy which denied the majority a piece of the pie when Africa had economic growth in the past. He has made a fool of himself and I am ashamed that he is associated with South Africa.

  • Gavin - 2010-05-07 14:53

    Africa can't eat anything from redistributed farms either, since they generally don't produce anything.

  • Colin - 2010-05-07 15:00

    I'm British but resident in SA for 29 years. How many of the commentors here have been to England recently? Try driving on their roads, try looking at the way they kow-tow to minority groups, try looking at the way government finds new methods of raping them for taxes. Then you may see that we have a country to be proud of, that is developing with its growing pains. I also think that BEE and AA is being managed badly, but it must exist in some form because otherwise change will never occur. Whether you like it or not, the ANC is here to stay, and at least they talk the talk. Hopefully walking the walk will follow if everyone remains positive, and if anyone is foolish enough to let people like Malema have any say, then there will be nothing we cando about it other than swim for Australia, but I have to believe that common sense will prevail, and all this silly talk is just people, maybe unwisely, exercising their right to talk crap!

  • john - 2010-05-07 15:03

    What Africa never seems to have realised is that people can't eat Marxism either. Economic development is only possible when you have a large sector of skilled people in the country. If you allow criminals to kill half of them and chase the other half away, guess what? No economic development and no food. It's something that is intuitive in the West. In Africa, it still needs to be taught.

  • To my Prezi - 2010-05-07 15:13

    Sorry JZ (not my prezi anymore) but I am on my way out and I'm taking my tax money with me as I will never condone ANYTHING you and the rest of the gov is doing - inspiring murder and hate and trying to justify it and to "sweep it under the carpet". C YA

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