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Economic Diplomacy

Economic diplomacy is concerned with setting the ‘rules of the game’ for the conduct of economic policy. Effective economic diplomacy requires understanding both the domestic political economy environment and the external negotiating environment, and the constraints of each.

Economic diplomacy matters to Southern Africa because the rules of the game shape domestic economic policy in important ways, and in an increasingly multi-polar world international economic negotiations are growing in importance across a number of fronts. These may shape domestic and regional economic policies in ways that could be inimical to pursuing sustainable outcomes. Therefore it is necessary to ensure regional interests are articulated and understood.

SAIIA’s primary purpose is to assist with the articulation of such interests by conducting high-level analytical work and making it publicly available in digestible forms to key Southern African actors and their international counterparts.

 

The project is funded by the British High Commission in South Africa (BHC) the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), the Department for International Development (DFID), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

On 4 May 2016, SAIIA and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) will host a multi-stakeholder dialogue to engage some of the region’s most influential policymakers and private sector actors. This event will generate a meaningful discussion on the opportunities for service sector development and the achievement of sustainable development objectives.
SAIIA today held a diplomatic briefing, addressed by Elizabeth Sidiropoulos and Cyril Prinsloo, on 'The Geopolitics of the 'new normal': South Africa in the BRICS 5 years on.'
SAIIA and the Embassy of Japan today hosted a Speaker’s Meeting addressed by His Excellency Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, Ambassador of Japan to South Africa, on 'TICAD 6: Priorities for a Growing Partnership with Africa.'
Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Unhappy South Africans

The World Happiness Index 2016 was released in Rome this week, ahead of World Happiness Day, which took place on 20 March - a day before South Africans celebrated their hard-won Human Rights Day.  
On 18 March 2016, SAIIA and the Embassy of Japan cordially hosted two briefings, on 'The New Development Bank and its place in the Development Finance Sector in Africa: Perspectives,' and 'The potential for the development of regional value chains in the Automotive Sector in SADC: Lessons from the ASEAN Experience.'
The US Congress passed the African Growth and Opportunity (AGOA) Act into law in 2000 in order to promote US and African trade relations and contribute to economic development on the African continent through export-led growth. AGOA and the US – African trade relationship has been placed under the spotlight in recent months, particularly with regards to the extension of the Act towards September 2015 and around South Africa’s continued benefits under the programme (as the largest AGOA beneficiary). 
The 2014 Summit of the BRICS grouping in Fortaleza saw the launch of the New Development Bank, a new international development finance institution. The Bank’s purpose is to: ‘mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development’.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has just presented his first Budget Speech since being reappointed following the unceremonious firing of Minister Nene. The speech follows on the presentation of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Jacob Zuma on 11 February 2016. Both speeches marked watershed moments in South Africa’s history as the economy faces some of its worst challenges in post-apartheid history.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 227, January 2016
The US-South African trade relationship has garnered significant attention over the past couple of months, following US President Barack Obama’s notice to South Africa that the country’s benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) will be suspended if it continues to impose longstanding trade barriers to US trade.
South Africans will remember the second and last business weeks of December 2015 for a long time to come because that particular period was characterised by almost unprecedented drama within South Africa's governance structures, as Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was sacked.
On 2 February, SAIIA hosted a talk by Florizelle Liser, Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa and Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, Assistant US Trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs and Commodity Policy. They discussed issues related to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the future of the trade relationship between the US and South Africa.
On 19 January President Jacob Zuma announced the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Investment. This took some in the investment community by surprise, despite the President’s reference in his 2015 State of the Nation Address to the future establishment of a government clearing house for investment.
SAIIA cordially invites you to the launch of the World Bank’s publication, 'Factory Southern Africa? SACU in Global Value Chains', on 21 January 2016.
On Thursday, 21 January 2016 SAIIA will host launch of the World Bank publication, 'Factory Southern Africa? SACU in Global Value Chains'. The publication is the result of an extensive collaborative effort across many organisations and experts that have contributed within their fields of expertise.
SAIIA Report, December 2015 Download - English This collection of papers is a combined initiative of EPF member think tanks and is the result of two round-table discussions under the Regional Integration research stream. The first event, ‘Drivers of Regional Integration’, took place in Cape Town, 25-27 November 2014; the second, ‘Regional Integration and Regional Value Chains’ was held in Moscow, 21 May 2015.
MEDIA ALERT:  NAIROBI AND BEYOND: WHAT PROSPECTS FOR THE WTO?   10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya    15 to 18 December 2015   Dear Editors and Journalists   The 10th Ministerial Conference of the  World Trade Organization (WTO)  will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 18 December 2015. It will be chaired by Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amina Mohamed. This will be the first time the organisation’s highest decision-making body will meet in Africa amid irreconcilable differences in positions of WTO members, with some already predicting that any significant progress in concluding the Doha…
United States President Obama’s announcement earlier this month to Congress to partly suspend South Africa’s benefits under the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) is likely set the tone of the AGOA agreement going forward, following the extension of the initiative earlier this year.
SAIIA today held a Roundtable Discussion on 'SADC investment policy and regional integration: the views of select SADC countries.'
On 11 November 2015, SAIIA held a media briefing on ‘The G-20: From Turkey to China – taking stock and looking forward’ to review developments and successes achieved under the Turkish Presidency, notably in relation to its impact on developing countries.
On 11 November 2015, SAIIA will hold a media briefing on 'G20: From Turkey to China – taking stock and looking forward'.
Recent interviews of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMME) that SAIIA conducted in Botswana can provide pointers on the focus that donor support should take in order to promote the growth of this sector. This growth would see the eventual graduation of some SMMEs into big businesses, able to develop regional value chains that economists and policymakers covet for regional economic industrialisation and development.
On Tuesday, 27 October 2015, the IMF launched its Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa at an event co-hosted by SAIIA and the Wits School for Economics and Business Sciences (SEBS). A gloomy picture was painted of the current economic woes facing the region, the sub-title of the report Dealing with the Gathering Clouds aptly summarising its overall message.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the University of the Witwatersrand's School of Economics and Business Science (SEBS), and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) held a presentation on 'The IMF's Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa: Dealing with the gathering clouds.'
21 October 2015 started out as the day that business and economic analysts were expected to reflect closely on the state of the South African economy. Instead it ended up reminiscent of a scene that sci-fi aficionados could describe as stormtroopers defending the Galactic Empire against a small, unarmed rebel alliance. 
A new project, coordinated by SAIIA, is exploring how multilateral trade negotiations can be revitalised to overcome both existing and emerging challenges.
On 15 October 2015, SAIIA will hold a Roundtable Dialogue on ‘Nairobi and Beyond: What Prospects for the WTO?’
As the World Trade Organization enters a period of readjustment after the Bali deal, there is a need to search for new ideas that can assist in revitalising multilateral trade negotiations. SAIIA and the Cordell Hull Institute have co-ordinated an exciting new project, 'Restoring Multilateral Trade Co-operation Project', in partnership with the World Bank and a network of developing-country think tanks.
The city of Erenhot sits on the Mongolian border, five hours of desolate steppe tundra away from the nearest major Chinese city. In 1992, the town had a population of 8000, and was best known for its bizarre 80-foot archway of kissing sauropods, which bridges across a usually empty freeway.
Sorting out a trade dispute can be a tricky thing. Nations may want to advance their economic interests but are reluctant to upset relations with another country over a dispute with a private investor. Though there is the mechanism of state-to-state arbitration, it has divided opinions among scholars who have described it either as a dangerous development 'that threatens to infringe upon investors’ rights and to re-politicize investor-state disputes' or 'an important step towards a new third era of the investment treaty system in which the rights and claims of both investors and treaty parties are recognised and valued.'
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