In the two decades since the end of Apartheid, the international community has perceived South Africa to be the most influential country in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The country continues to play an important economic role on the continent and is a driving political force in the African Union (AU).  As such, South Africa has received recognition as an important emerging power and gained access to key international platforms, including the United National Security Council, the G20, and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) forum (German Development Institute, 2016).

Education is the central piece that propels economic growth. A country can be rich in natural resources, but if its population lacks education, it will continue to be poor and dependent on foreign support. Singapore is probably the best example of this statement: a city-state, with no natural resources, but ranking 3rd as the largest GDP per capita in the world, according to the IMF[1]. This achievement would never have been reached if education had not spread throughout all the socio-economic layers of its population since the country’s independence in 1965.


In the 1960s, the newly independent city-state of Singapore sought assistance from the World Bank to transit from being a developing country to a developed nation by way of stimulating human resource development. Julienne Chan charts the success of this bold policy.




NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies


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