Cyril Ramaphosa Wins ANC Leadership in South Africa

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected leader of the African National Congress on Monday in a close-run vote that will set the direction for the country and the scandal-plagued party that has ruled since the end of apartheid.

As ANC leader, Ramaphosa, a 65-year-old union leader who became a businessman and is now one of South Africa’s richest people, is likely to become the country’s next president after elections in 2019.

He has promised to fight rampant corruption and revitalize the economy, a message hailed by foreign investors.

Jacob Zuma’s presidency, tainted by corruption and scandal, has badly tarnished the ANC’s image both at home and abroad. The party once led by Nelson Mandela is now deeply divided.

Ramaphosa narrowly beat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 68, a former cabinet minister and Zuma’s ex-wife, in Monday’s vote, marking a pivotal moment for the ANC which launched black-majority rule under Mandela’s leadership 23 years ago.

He smiled and hugged other party officials as the results were read out. Zuma sat stoney-faced as Ramaphosa’s victory was announced.

Political instability, including the questions over who would replace Zuma, has been cited by credit rating agencies as a big factor behind their decision to cut South Africa to “junk”.

Economic growth in Africa’s traditional powerhouse has been lethargic over the last six years and the jobless rate stands near record levels.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza