Thabo Mbeki

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Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki[1] (Xhosa pronunciation: [tʰaɓɔ mbɛːkʼi]; born 18 June 1942) is a South African politician who served almost two terms as the second post-apartheid President of South Africa from 14 June 1999[2] to 24 September 2008.[3] He is also the brother of Moeletsi Mbeki. On 20 September 2008, he announced his resignation after being recalled by the African National Congress's National Executive Committee,[4] following a conclusion by Judge Nicholson of improper interference in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), including the prosecution of Jacob Zuma for corruption.[5] On 12 January 2009, the Supreme Court of Appeal unanimously overturned Judge Nicholson’s judgment[6][7][8] but the resignation stood.

Thabo Mbeki was the executive face of government in South Africa from 1994. During his time in office the economy grew at an average rate of 4.5% per annum. Mbeki created employment in the middle sectors of the economy and oversaw a fast growing black middle class with the implementation of BEE. This growth exacerbated the demand for trained professionals strained by emigration due to violent crime, but failed to address unemployment amongst the unskilled bulk of the population. He attracted the bulk of Africa’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and made South Africa the focal point of African growth. He was the architect of NEPAD whose aim is to develop an integrated socio-economic development framework for Africa.[9] He also oversaw the successful building of economic bridges to BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations with the eventual formation of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum to "further political consultation and co-ordination as well as strengthening sectoral co-operation, and economic relations".[10]

Mbeki has mediated in difficult and complex issues on the African continent including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Ivory Coast, and some important peace agreements. He oversaw the transition from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU). His 'quiet diplomacy' in Zimbabwe, however, is blamed for protracting the survival of Robert Mugabe's regime at the cost of thousands of lives and intense economic pressure on Zimbabwe's neighbours. He became a vocal leader of the Non-Aligned Movement in the United Nations and while leveraging South Africa's seat on the Security Council,[11] agitating for reform of the Security Council.[12]

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