Photo: Ramaphosa, with Mandela looking on (in mural form). Photo: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's efforts to revive Africa's second-largest economy aren't off to a propitious start.

The latest: The country has now entered into recession for the first time in nearly a decade, and Ramaphosa's remedies are limited by the fact that his fantastically corrupt predecessor left a bare cupboard behind. Emigration is on the rise. Foreign investment isn't.

  • Ramaphosa's message since taking office in February has been that the bad old days are over. However, no corrupt officials have been jailed, and many remain in government.

Asked about that last week by Foreign Policy's Jonathan Tepperman, Ramaphosa said prosecutions "will definitely come." He asked for patience and added, "Because we’re not on a slide downward; we’re on a climb upward."

  • On land redistribution, a topic which sparked a recent feud with President Trump, Ramaphosa said South Africa had learned from Zimbabwe's example: "First, we’re not going to allow land grabs. Second, we’re not going to allow land to be redistributed to elites, to party hacks."
  • On the South Africa-U.S. relationship he said: "Despite what has been tweeted in the past, the relationship has not been negatively affected. But we would like to have it strengthened."
  • Ramaphosa rejected the idea that China's investments in Africa represented "a new colonialism," adding: "I come from the school that says you should be able to use other people’s money to make money. But you should also know that it doesn’t come for free."

Go deeper (NYT): South Africa’s Leaders Are Killing One Another.

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Deadly storm Zeta pummels parts of Alabama and Florida

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people and caused mass power outages after making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," Zeta weakened to a tropical storm over central Alabama early on Thursday, but it was still packing powerful winds and heavy rains, per the National Hurricane Center.

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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