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South Africa is sometimes known as “the gay heaven” of Africa, where same-sex marriage is legal and human rights for all are enshrined in the post-Apartheid Constitution. But there is a gulf between the legal framework and the LGBTI community’s lived experience. Discrimination and brutal hate crimes continue, especially in rural areas. ZwaKala is an EU-funded programme implemented by Iranti-org which builds local capacity to document and report on hate crimes and human rights violations.
Joblessness is a longstanding challenge for South Africa where the unemployment rate is 26% - officially. Off the record it’s closer to 40%, according to Milly Chesire at the EU Delegation in Pretoria, and hits 70% among historically disadvantaged persons (HDPs). This group is made up of black South Africans, women and people with disabilities, and it is these people the EU is helping the South African government to reach with funding for small and medium-sized enterprises via the Risk Capital Facility. Capacity4dev visited Americandy, a confectionary business in Johannesburg, to see how it works.
Development projects and programmes aim to change lives around the world using various methods from technical assistance to capacity development. But what actually happens when a project ends and the money is withdrawn from one day to the next? What legacy does the EU leave behind? Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia, Country Director and Head of the Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS (HEAIDS) Programme in South Africa shares his experiences, including how he overcame financial cutbacks and near collapse, to oversee one of South Africa’s best success stories. 
 When you think about development challenges, a lack of trained accountants might not immediately come to mind. Yet poor public sector financial management is often at the root of patchy service delivery in other sectors, from health and education to transport. South Africa recognised this underlying issue, and with EU support embarked on a capacity development programme.
Last October, Marcus Cornaro left the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) to take up a new post as Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to South Africa. In this interview he shares some of the challenges of working in a graduating country and how South Africa can serve as an example to the region.
“Education is one of the foundations for development and Erasmus Mundus addressed the needs of developing countries in higher education. We tend to focus on basic education in our development programmes but this is not enough. We need to invest in a continuum of education and Erasmus Mundus provided this opportunity for students and for institutions to increase their capacity,” said Veronique Lorenzo, Head of Unit for Education at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development.
How can Sector Budget Support embrace Civil Society and what can be achieved? How can such support offer an effective way to strengthen sector capacity and governance? In this first of a two-part series on capacity4dev.eu, Jozet Muller from the EU Delegation to South Africa shares her experience of engaging with civil society in ways that are helping to promote transparency and accountability.
While industrialised nations have traditionally taken the lead in coordinating development, emerging powers like South Africa, Brazil and India are increasingly assuming a role as providers of technical cooperation, too. Is this a welcome conversion? We’d like your views.