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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.

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The South African Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, gave the keynote address at the Second Annual African G-20 Conference, on the theme “The G-20 and Africa’s Economic Growth and Transformation”. The conference on 11 November 2013 was hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs and the University of Pretoria, as part of their Global Economic Governance Africa Project. This project seeks to ensure that African interests are understood and effectively represented in the various global forums that debate and set rules for global economic governance.
The recent visit of South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, to the United States to lobby for the renewal of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) highlights the need for South Africans to be fully engaged with this process, as its outcome will ultimately impact their economic welfare. Mfundo Hlatshwayo, a Research Associate with SAIIA's Economic Diplomacy Programme, spoke to Polity about AGOA and its implications for South Africa and the continent. Click on the video above to watch. Related Resources Read a review of the recent AGOA event hosted by SAIIA and TIPS, The African Growth and…
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 153, September 2013
A full agenda of dialogues with US Congress, US business and the US administration has been prepared for South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, as his department starts South Africa’s lobbying effort for the seamless renewal of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). Minister Davies and his senior aides travelled to the US last week to cajole the US congress and other thought leaders of the importance of US–Africa economic relations, as well as to argue South Africa’s case for an unfettered renewal of AGOA.  
The first joint workshop between TIPS and The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) on the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) took place at the IDC on 17 September 2013. This was timed to coincide with the lobbying visit by a South African government and business delegation to Washington led by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
In this podcast, Jakkie Cilliers, Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies looks at South Africa's economic plans through his research on the country's draft National Development Plan. He speaks to SAIIA's Chief Executive, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, about his findings and what it reveals about the future of SA's economic strategy.   
The implementation of South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 is crucial. Without narrowing the huge gap between rich and poor, South Africa’s stability will be at risk as structural unemployment and inequality, already among the highest in the world, become a toxic mixture that could undo progress in Africa’s largest economy.
On 6 September 2013, SAIIA held a closed event to discuss foreign investments into South And Southern Africa.
Leaders of the Group of 20 (G-20) nations gather in St Petersburg, Russia, today, under a Syrian war cloud. Global economic crisis is in the air again, this time centred on emerging markets. The G-20 cannot fix geopolitical problems; nor will it rescue the world from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s tapering of quantitative easing.
Group of 20 (G-20) leaders gather in St Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday 5 September. Global crisis is in the air again, this time centred on emerging markets; in principle, this is a circumstance that is tailor-made for this forum. What are the prospects for success at the G-20 — and with what implications for South Africa?
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 73, September 2013
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 152, August 2013
Members of the press were invited to a special media briefing on “The G-20 Summit 2013: Understanding South Africa’s agenda in St. Petersburg” on 29 August 2013.
A new resource, the G-20 and Africa Monitor, assesses how well G-20 decision-makers have served African interests since the grouping was first established.
In this special series of podcasts, SAIIA focuses on the upcoming Group of 20 (G-20) summit to be held in St Petersburg in Russia on the 5 and 6 September 2013. As host this year, Russia has made attempts to include views from sectors such as the youth, civil society, business and think tanks. SAIIA interviews representatives from these different groups, to provide some insight into the G-20, its role, its relevance for Africa and what may emerge from this year's summit.
When heads of state met in Lilongwe, Malawi, for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit on 17 and 18 August 2013, one of their agenda items was a report from the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration. This task force has been working on a roadmap towards the formation of a SADC Customs Union, which aims to take regional integration within the bloc one step beyond the existing Free Trade Area (FTA) that was launched in 2008.
SAIIA Report No 12, August 2013Download - English (1.2 MB) Economic Diplomacy ProgrammeThe following report is an in-depth analysis commissioned by the South African Institute of International Affairs between 2012 and 2013 that explores South Africa’s past, present and future development assistance to the rest of the continent. It unpacks South Africa’s development partnership paradigm and the tensions that lie within its various global engagements, its approach to incoming aid and outgoing South–South co-operation. It explores the economic and political drivers and the internal and external forces that affect Pretoria’s international development policy, and the comparative advantage that South Africa…
The Economic Diplomacy Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs and the Humanities Department at the University of Pretoria hosted this G20 Study Group meeting, on the Russian outreach activities for business, labour, civil society, think tanks and youth constituencies.
The upcoming summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the 17 and 18 August 2013 is an annual regional meeting that brings together 15 member states. SAIIA speaks to Ambassador Kaire Mbuende, Namibia’s former representative to the United Nations and a former Executive Secretary of SADC.
On 1 August 2013, SAIIA's Peter Draper was invited to give a presentation on South Africa's Trade Agreements and relations to a workshop at Parliament.
If there is one thing that is different to the 2008 Zimbabwean elections, it is that the 2013 election has a new ‘candidate’. His name is Baba Jukwa. The anonymous social media icon and commentator, portrayed as a cartoon of an old man and coined ‘the Julian Assange of Zimbabwe’, has attracted the world’s attention.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDear Editors, 29 July 2013 SAIIA Media Alert: SAIIA expert analysis and commentary on the Zimbabwean election  Zimbabwean citizens go to the polls this week for what has been called one of the most important elections in Zimbabwe’s history since independence. President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are expected to contest a tough election; the outcome of which has repercussions for South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Strategic bilateral trade relations and job creation topped the agenda at the 6th South Africa - European Union summit in Pretoria on 18 July 2013. The summit noted that over the last 10 years, EU investors accounted for three quarters of foreign direct investment and the block remained South Africa's biggest trading partner.
South Africa and the European Union meet in Pretoria today  for the 6th annual SA-EU summit. While this meeting is another step in strengthening the strategic partnership between the two, SA’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, said on Tuesday, that of particular importance this year are the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).
South Africa hosts the 6th South Africa (SA)- European Union (EU) Summit on 18 July 2013, symbolically, on former President Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday. At the end of the apartheid period, the Mandela administration began to negotiate the terms of the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), and signed with the EU in 1999. This freed up trade between SA and the EU region with a planned phase-in over 12 years.
This is part 2 in a series of video briefings on regional economic integration in Africa.
This is part 3 in a series of video briefings on regional economic integration in Africa.
This is part 4 in a series of video briefings on regional economic integration in Africa.
SAIIA and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) have been working on a joint project that examines the political economy of regional integration in Southern Africa.