Chile and South Africa lessons and opportunities arising from political and economic transition

This report describes parallels of economic and political change in South Africa and Chile, and the development of forward-looking strategies to deal with these. Chile and South Africa have similar pasts. Both countries are ‘middle powers’, located in the ‘deep South’. Both made the transition from autocracy to democracy. Yet both still face challenges relating to a shared history of human rights abuses, and their location as developing states within the global economy. This report discusses Chile and South Africa in terms of globalisation and the world after 11 September 2001, the differences and similarities in political transitions and human rights, as well as economic reform and bilateral co-operation. In conclusion, Chile and South Africa endured political and economic transition, and have some way still to go. Both are located in difficult, challenging and unstable regions. The pursuit of three strategies might bring them closer together economically: a free trade agreement between the two countries, an increase in the number of joint ventures, and facilitation of trade and investment opportunities by the South African and Chilean diasporas and bilateral chambers of commerce. Finally, middle powers have two key roles to play in the emerging world order by providing leadership on a range of issues and continuing to hold a set of democratic values as an example to others.