To understand the depths to which South Africa—until recently Africa's 2nd largest economy and an emerging market powerhouse—has sunken, look no further than the country's finance minister.
January capped a tumultuous period in which South Africa's finance ministry changed hands three times in just a week. After only months on the job, incumbent Pravin Gordhan has been dogged by controversy as the country struggles to overcome the sandbags of slumping commodity prices, tumbling exports and extreme weather. Meanwhile, political risk has become a big factor as President Jacob Zuma fights calls for his resignation.
It all underscores why South Africa has lost its shine with investors, which have taken fright at the country's slumping currency and worsening growth prospects. Last week, the government reported South Africa's economy contracted in the first three months of 2016.
The grim state of South Africa's economy has dragged it to third place on the continent, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) data. Meanwhile, Egypt—the country that overtook South Africa—is newly ascendant as investors search for an alternative in the volatile emerging market space.
According to analysts, it's been a slow and grinding fall from grace for the country.
"South Africa has been hit by a prolonged slowdown coupled with a weaker currency," said Win Thin, head of emerging market strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH). IMF figures from 2015 show that in the pecking order of the continent's economies, South Africa is now sandwiched between Nigeria and Egypt.
"So in U.S. dollar terms, South African [growth] has shrunk 4 straight years and likely to make it 5 straight after 2016," Thin added.