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votedbest2013Getting Africa thinking and talking: a platform for positive change


The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) is South Africa’s premier research institute on international issues. As an independent, non-government think tank, we have a long and proud history of providing thought leadership in Africa. We are both a centre for research excellence and a home for stimulating public discussion.

Our work spans social development, foreign policy, governance, the environment, and economic policy, linking local experiences with global debates. This body of African-generated knowledge provides local and regional decision-makers with independent, evidence-based options for Africa’s future development.

All our findings are made available freely in the form of publications, policy briefs, videos, articles, workshops and conferences. We provide an open platform for the public to engage with these issues, and facilitate discussions between a wide variety of stakeholders. Our public outreach activities inspire students to take an interest in international affairs, and help develop their research and leadership skills.

Read SAIIA’s Annual ‘Highlights’ Reports to find out more about our activities and achievements.
Founded in 1934, SAIIA has been voted the best think tank in sub Saharan Africa for five consecutive years (2009-2013) in the largest global survey of peers, the University of Pennsylvania’s annual Global Think Tank Survey. SAIIA has also received a five-star rating in the latest Transparify report, indicating our status as a 'highly transparent' think tank, one of only six think tanks in Africa to achieve this rating.

SAIIA staff are drawn from all across Africa, and all around the world. We represent many differing faiths, nationalities, sexual orientations, political affiliations and viewpoints. This diversity strengthens our work, and we embrace it. Learn more about our staff and their expertise here.

SAIIA-officeOur head office is located in Johannesburg on the campus of the University of the Witwatersrand, and we also have an office in Cape Town. SAIIA is a membership organisation, with branches in Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and East London. View our contact details and directions to our offices or learn more about SAIIA membership categories and benefits.

Our project funding derives from grants from international governments, multilateral organisations and private foundations. Core institutional funding comes from local corporate, diplomatic and institutional members. Learn more about SAIIA’s funders and partners here.

Throughout the apartheid era, SAIIA provided a crucial public forum for debate, dissent and engagement with the wider world. Since the early 1990s, when South Africa rejoined the global community, we have developed a research agenda focused on decisions facing African policy-makers. Read a short account of SAIIA’s history here.

National council1smallSAIIA is governed by an independent council, comprised of representatives of our membership and senior figures in business and civil society. We are registered as a not for profit organisation with the Department of Social Development, and with the South African Revenue Services as a public benefit organisation. Learn about SAIIA's governance and office bearers here.



SAIIA Strategic Plan
The current strategy guiding our work runs from 2013 through to 2018.

pdf Download SAIIA's Strategy 2013-2018 (PDF, 667kB) .

Our Goal: A well-governed, peaceful, economically sustainable and globally-engaged Africa.

Our Vision: To be the pre-eminent think-tank on Africa and on global issues as they affect Africa.

Our Mission: SAIIA provides input into policy development and promotes balanced dialogue and debate on issues crucial to Africa’s advancement and engagement in a dynamic global context. SAIIA does this by conducting evidence-based policy research, stimulating informed public debate, and building leadership and research excellence in Africa.

Our activities: