Tuesday, December 1, 2015
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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).

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.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Friday, 27 November 2015 15:50
SAIIA today held a Roundtable Discussion on 'SADC investment policy and regional integration: the views of select SADC countries.'
Published in Events
Monday, 23 November 2015 09:29
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.
Published in News & Announcements
Thursday, 12 November 2015 13:15
On 11 November 2015, SAIIA held a media briefing on 'G20: From Turkey to China – taking stock and looking forward'.
Published in Events
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 10:56
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.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Friday, 06 November 2015 10:30
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.
Published in News & Announcements
Tuesday, 03 November 2015 13:27
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.'
Published in Events
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 10:15
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. 
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Friday, 23 October 2015 04:12
A new project, coordinated by SAIIA, is exploring how multilateral trade negotiations can be revitalised to overcome both existing and emerging challenges.
Published in News & Announcements
Friday, 16 October 2015 09:32
On 15 October 2015, SAIIA will hold a Roundtable Dialogue on ‘Nairobi and Beyond: What Prospects for the WTO?’
Published in Events
Thursday, 15 October 2015 16:05
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.
Published in Multimedia
Thursday, 15 October 2015 16:05
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.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Monday, 12 October 2015 10:44

The need for specialised investment courts

By Lesley Wentworth and Azwimpheleli Langalanga
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.'
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 08:49
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 221, September 2015
Published in Occasional Papers
Thursday, 01 October 2015 15:20
SAIIA Policy Insights No 26, October 2015
Published in Policy Insights
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 00:00
South Africa is a country of contradictions. Depending on one's circles and political or moral convictions one always gets something fascinating. If it's not Nkandla, its Ramaphosa flying on a Gupta plane.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 10:22
Seoul, South Korea 12-14 February 2014: 1st RoundtableHosted by: the Korean Institute of International Economic PolicyDownload Chairman's statement (84 kB) Brasilia, Brazil 13-15 April 2014: 2nd RoundtableHosted by: Fundação Getulio Vargas and Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica AplicadaDownload report of proceedings (PDF, 13 MB) Johannesburg, South Africa 12-13 June 2014: 3rd Roundtable [Visit event page]Hosted by: the South African Institute of International Affairs (Johannesburg, South Africa) View photos from the event Download the programme (PDF, 273 kB)Download report of proceedings (PDF, 553 kB)Download Professor Hoekman's presentation, Supply Chains, Mega-Regionals and the WTO: A Road Map for the WTO (PDF, 621 kB)…
Published in News & Announcements
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 09:01
SAIIA is pleased to continue our new series of interviews on Twitter (or 'Twinterviews') with authors from SAIIA's peer-reviewed journal, the South African Journal of International Affairs. In the second of the series, Journal Editor Martha Bridgman interviewed Dr Lyal White about his article on the importance of regional economic integration in Africa.
Published in Events
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 14:22
The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) between the member states of three African regional economic communities – SADC, EAC, and COMESA – has been heralded as one of the most important developments in African regional integration.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Tuesday, 18 August 2015 10:35

SADC Summit 17-18 August 2015

By SAIIA’s Economic Diplomacy Team
Heads of State and Governments of the member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will be meeting this week in Gaborone, Botswana to further discuss the region’s industrial and infrastructure development.
Published in News & Announcements
Monday, 17 August 2015 09:48
The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) across Southern and Eastern Africa has been heralded as a crucially important step for African growth and economic development. But what exactly is it? How realistic is the agreement? When will we see any benefits from it? And who will benefit most (and least)?
Published in Multimedia
Wednesday, 12 August 2015 12:55
SAIIA Report No 19, September 2015

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Economic Diplomacy Programme

International trade has changed dramatically since the 1980s. Due to enormous reductions in transportation and communications costs, as well as the worldwide liberalisation of trade in goods and – to a lesser extent – services, production processes have been fragmented while value chains have gone global. Some observers now speak of global production networks. 
Published in Research Reports
Sunday, 02 August 2015 16:15
In June 2015, the Department of Mineral Resources gazetted regulations related to hydraulic fracturing or fracking in South Africa offering a framework for the exploitation and exploration of shale gas. It could easily lead one to think that another step has been taken in the direction of the highly controversial question of industrial fracking in the Karoo basin.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Thursday, 30 July 2015 12:54
A high level dialogue organised by ICTSD and SAIIA on 28 and 29 July 2015 is an opportunity to revisit several challenges facing Africa and Southern Africa more specifically in the context of new developments and data that have emerged in recent years.
Published in Events
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 16:40
During state visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia in later 2013, President Xi Jinping outlined China’s vision of a ‘One Belt One Road’ – running overland from China to Eastern Europe – and a complementary Maritime Silk Road that stretches from Southeast China across the Indian Ocean to Dar es Salaam and onward around the Horn of Africa to the Mediterranean. While this vision remains under development, the engagement is intended as a multi-pronged diplomatic, economic and strategic initiative - as well as one that encourages closer cross-cultural contact – that will intensify China’s relations with Africa. Indeed this raises questions…
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Tuesday, 28 July 2015 15:07
On 21 July 2015, SAIIA, the OECD, and South Africa's National Treasury officially launched the OECD South Africa Economic Survey 2015.
Published in Events
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 09:27
Last week, at the United Nations Third International Conference on Financing for Development, in Addis Ababa, the 193 UN Member States agreed on a series of measures to overhaul global finance practices and generate investments for tackling a range of development challenges.
Published in News & Announcements
Monday, 20 July 2015 10:55
The International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13-15 July 2015 brought together world leaders to assess progress on the implementation of the 2002 Monterrey Consensus and the 2008 Doha Declaration on Financing for Development. The goal of the Monterrey Consensus, endorsed at Doha, was ‘to eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable development as the World advances to a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system’.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Monday, 20 July 2015 10:08
A policy dialogue on 'New approached to economic challenges' was held on 16 July 2015 by the OECD, in co-operation with South Africa's National Treasury and SAIIA.
Published in Events
Thursday, 16 July 2015 09:03

South Africa needs a concrete BRICS strategy

By Peter Draper and Mzukisi Qobo
Heads of state of the BRICS countries will gather in Ufa, Russia, this week for the grouping’s seventh summit, which comes at a particularly challenging time for Russian diplomacy. Precipitated by the conflict in Ukraine, Russia is barred from Group of Seven/Group of Eight processes and increasingly estranged from the West.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Tuesday, 07 July 2015 15:32
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