South Africa

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has emerged as the main engine of growth in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the lead architects of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and a major force in regional stability. With a population of more than 48 million, South Africa is the biggest and most advanced economy in Africa. It has a diversified market, an abundant supply of natural resources, an established manufacturing sector, a well-developed financial services sector, as well as extensive transport infrastructure, good communications, and modern distribution facilities. But it also has large areas of extreme poverty and deprivation, primarily in black communities.

South Africa ranks 121st out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 Human Development Index. Since 1990 it has dropped about 40 places on this index almost entirely because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which gives rise to severely reduced life expectancy and continues to strain social services and place a huge burden on women and children. It is estimated that one out of five adults is HIV positive—the highest number of HIV-infected people in any one country in the world. There are also about 1.2 million AIDS orphans, who are children whose parents have both died of HIV/AIDS.

South Africa has sound constitutional and legal policies, but lacks the capacity to implement them effectively. This is partly due to the substandard education that many black people received during apartheid and the slow changes made to the education system since that time. The resulting skills shortage, coupled with an unemployment rate of 25 percent, makes it difficult for the Government of South Africa to deliver services to poor communities.

Find out what Canada is doing to support development in South Africa.

Thematic focus

Canada and South Africa signed a general agreement on development cooperation (PDF, 27 KB, 1 page) in 2006. Canada's international development program in South Africa is closely aligned with the country's most important priority areas, as identified in the Government of South Africa's Programme of Action 2009 (PDF, 1.23 MB, 12 pages). South Africa is committed to strengthening its regulatory and public administration systems and to delivering better public health services to its people.

The goal of Canada's current international development assistance program in South Africa to March 31, 2014, is to help the country improve service delivery in the area of HIV/AIDS and build accountable public institutions, as well as to help South Africa play its regional role on the continent through sharing relevant expertise.

Children and youth

South Africa is one of very few countries where infant and child mortality rates are rising—mainly because of mother-to-child HIV transmission at birth. Canada continues to support South Africa in implementing its 2012-2016 HIV & AIDS and STI Strategic Plan (PDF, 1.44 MB, 86 pages). Canada supports efforts that focus on improving service delivery in HIV/AIDS by supporting projects that reduce the number of new HIV/AIDS infections—the vast majority occur in children and youth—and on providing school-aged children and youth with access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care, and support services that address and take into account differences between women and men. This includes support to both government and civil society organizations.

Key anticipated results

  • More than 10,000 public health workers will be trained and better equipped to work with HIV/AIDS patients, including children and youth.
  • More than 92,000 patients will have access to home-based palliative care.
  • More than 120 HIV/AIDS community-based organizations serving 200,000 individuals, including children and youth, will improve their capacity to provide HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support services.

Democratic governance

South Africa faces a critical skills shortage, which hampers its ability to deliver services to the poor within national, provincial, and local governments. Canada continues to support efforts that help build accountable government and non-governmental institutions.

Democratic governance is one of the Government of Canada's five priority themes for international development assistance.

Key anticipated results

  • Targeted public sector institutions will have enhanced technical capacity, knowledge, and skills, and will be able to better deliver services to more than five million vulnerable people.
  • More than forty civil society organizations and eight public sector institutions will use new management and accountability frameworks.

Progress on aid effectiveness

South Africa adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages), and is one of its strongest advocates and a champion of its implementation.

Donors are encouraged to channel aid contributions through South Africa's National Treasury Reconstruction and Development Program Fund, which demonstrates local ownership, alignment with local procedures and processes, mutual accountability, and results.

Achievements 2012-2013

Children and youth

  • Helped provide care for more than 100,000 patients, including many children and youth, by supporting hospices and improving home care programs for HIV/AIDS patients and their families.
  • Supported 36 community-based organizations in the six poorest provinces, leading to improved HIV/AIDS care and services for more than 1.9 million people, including children and youth.

Democratic governance

  • Improved public sector performance management in South Africa through the adaptation of Canada's Management Accountability Framework. The tool has been rolled out to 156 South African national and provincial departments in 2012-2013.
  • Developed the only accredited gender mainstreaming training program in South Africa for public servants, and trained 10 facilitators and some 5,000 officials to incorporate gender considerations in government policies and programs.
  • Trained 1,606 officials and 1,722 anticorruption practitioners on the development of anticorruption policies and strategies, the management of corrupt information and disciplinary processes, and ethical challenges in the workplace. Several departments are now conducting their own internal anticorruption awareness workshops based on the training materials developed with Canadian support.
  • Facilitated the inclusion of gender mainstreaming and anticorruption training over five days as part of the 25-day Compulsory Induction Program for new South African public servants. The program is expected to reach 20,000 new employees per year.
  • Supported the development of a manual for mental health professionals who work in the field of child abuse in collaboration with the Teddy Bear Clinic, a South African civil society organization. This manual is expected to reach 300–400 health professionals annually, particularly in rural areas.
  • Helped strengthen public sector capacity in Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan as part of a trilateral cooperation pilot initiative with South Africa. The project helped train more than 500 trainers in gender mainstreaming, mentoring and coaching, training management systems, case study development, curriculum design, and monitoring and evaluation.

By working with Canadian and international partners, Canada is working to improve the health and rights of women and children globally, which includes South Africa.

2014-2015 international assistance disbursements to South Africa (in millions of dollars)

Global Affairs Canada5.22
Other departments and sources1.00