Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95, was the most important leader in South Africa's history and one of the global giants of his time. What people often overlook, however, is the role Mandela played in building up Africa's largest economy, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

 

The article chronicles how in addition to Mandela's moral example he was able to manage the transition from apartheid without widespread violence, repression, or economic collapse.

 

South Africa's gross domestic product growth rate picked up considerably under Mandela. Economic growth rose from less than 1.5 percent from 1980 to 1994 to slightly under 3 percent from 1995 to 2003. Despite the sudden influx of internal migrants with the legal right to compete equally for jobs, average personal incomes for white South Africans increased by 62 percent from 1993 to 2008, according to University of Cape Town economist Murray Leibbrandt.

 

Average incomes for Africans themselves increased even faster-by 93 percent over that period.

 

These are just a couple examples. Read the full article online.