South Africa has refused to give a $1 billion bailout unless conditions aimed at restoring democratic government are met. China, which has provided buses, passenger planes and fighter jets in the past year, gave only $30m after it received warning telephone calls from the presidents of Nigeria and South Africa.
This is almost too good to be true. Is it possible that South Africa and Nigeria are willing to play the role of responsible adults on that continent?
O.K. It should have happened much earlier. Perhaps, some lives could have been saved and the Kim Jong Il of Africa would have been gone by now. Still, even if the South African turn around may be too late to save Zimbabwe, it may not be too late to save the legitimacy of South Africa in the eyes of investors. Without saying no to Mugabe, it was difficult to believe that South Africa was no about to follow in Mugabe's footsteps.