Is the world really getting better, as Bill Gates asserts? And what of SA under the new ANC leadership? Can the beleaguered country hope to reclaim its position as the beloved one any time soon? Gates, the founder of Microsoft who edited the January 15 issue of Time magazine under the cover headline "The Optimists", asserted that there is long-term evidence of several big, positive global development trends. For instance, he says childhood deaths have more than halved over the past 27 years, falling to 5m/year from over 12m in 1990. The global maternal mortality rate has fallen from close to 300 deaths per 100,000 live births to just 179 over the same period. Global poverty has also been decimated. In 1990, more than a third of the global population lived in extreme poverty with income under US$1,90/day. Today only a tenth do. Time attributes this to rapid economic growth in developing countries which has raised wages and living standards.For a long time, SA was part of these positi...

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