NELSON MANDELA'S call for the lifting of remaining economic sanctions against South Africa has focused worldwide investor attention and raised hopes here of financing post-apartheid reconstruction.
``It's too early to draw any conclusions,'' a local investment broker says. ``But the reaction has been surprisingly positive.''
The first tangible benefit from the lifting of sanctions was rapid progress toward securing a $850 million drought-related loan from the International Monetary Fund this week. Prior to the lifting of US financial sanctions, the US was obliged by law to block the granting of IMF and World Bank loans to South Africa.
The decision by the Organization of African Unity Wednesday to lift all economic sanctions on South Africa has paved the way for the UN Security Council to lift sanctions next week.
The 50-nation Commonwealth (of former British colonies) lifted sanctions this week and the 12-nation European Community (EC) announced Wednesday that it would drop all remaining sanctions against South Africa as soon as a multiracial commission, which is to oversee the government until the first democratic ballot in April, is operational.
The bill providing for the commission was passed by Parliament last week but its enactment awaits the adoption of an interim constitution - scheduled to take place by the end of October.
Speaking at the IMF annual meeting in Washington on Wednesday, South African Finance Minister Derek Keys appealed to the world financial community to return with the same zeal that marked its exodus from the country during the sanctions era.
Mr. Keys said that consensus reached between the various parties in South Africa boded well for a sound economic policy but he warned that black expectations would have to be reconciled with the country's economic capacity.