Results around the world – South Africa

Despite a progressive constitution and nearly a quarter-century of democratic rule, South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. South Africa ranks 119th out of 188 countries in the United Nations Development Programme’s 2016 Human Development Index. Key challenges include high levels of poverty, weak public sector capacity and high unemployment. This is coupled with skills in the labour force that do not match market demands and unequal access to basic public services, including health care and education. The perception of corruption and government inability to provide equitable access to basic public services continues to erode public confidence. This perception has worsened in the face of economic challenges.

While South Africa has made strides in establishing a strong legislative and policy environment to support gender equality and empower women, significant challenges remain. This is particularly true in the area of sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination. South Africa has one of the highest rates of violence against women and children in the world, with estimates of one woman killed every eight hours by a partner. Moreover, the growth of HIV/AIDS is greatest among women aged 15 to 24 years, who are preyed on by older men and subject to economic pressure.

Canadian development assistance in South Africa focuses on inclusive governance and the empowerment of women and girls. Canada is helping the Government of South Africa to use its resources transparently and effectively to deliver essential public services to its citizens, particularly the poor, most vulnerable and marginalized groups, including women. Current governance programming is supporting the increased capacity of national-level government institutions, improved social housing, local green economic development, and enhanced pediatric care services. The ultimate objective is the reduction of the acute inequalities in South Africa—both income- and gender-related.

Key results

Canada’s support to the South African government contributed to increasing the compliance of government institutions with their monitoring and evaluation policies—the compliance rate rising from 35% to 69% since the start of the Canadian support in 2013. South African models for monitoring and evaluation, tools and case studies are also being used by the government’s National Treasury and by tertiary institutions and local municipalities throughout South Africa, as well as by other African countries.

Through Canada’s support to the Government of South Africa, 300 young, capable, well-qualified post-graduate economic analysts and technical experts were trained by the Government Technical Advisory Centre on public economics. As a result, these individuals are better placed to contribute to improving capacity in a constrained national and provincial fiscal environment.

Rooftops Canada has enhanced coordination between and increased capacity of government and civil society stakeholders in the social housing sector targeted to the poorest and more vulnerable. This included the establishment of a working group on social housing institutions compliance, reporting and monitoring, and the finalization of a robust and comprehensive gender equality strategy for the social housing sector.

Through the Toronto-based Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), the knowledge and capacity of the new Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) has been enhanced to provide safe, high quality child- and family-centred clinical care for poor and marginalized children in South Africa and the region. To date, over 850 SickKids policies, procedures, guidelines, tools and templates have been shared with NMCH and adapted for use and incorporated into NMCH policy-related documents.

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