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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.

Contact the programme on edip[@]saiia.org.za.

The South African Institute of International Affairs, in partnership with the Deutsche Bundesbank and the University of Pretoria, cordially invite you to a public address on 'The future of Europe and the Euro – what monetary policy can do and cannot do' with an address by Dr Andreas Dombret, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank.
The rapid expansion of Africa’s cities over the past decades has meant an increasing demand for infrastructure, service delivery and jobs. At the same time African policymakers, urban planners and researchers are clamouring to find innovative solutions to meet these demands. The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – which will see a fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres – will compound these challenges and experts need to plan adequately for the disruptions.
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), cordially invites you to a public address on 'The 2017 OECD Economic Survey of South Africa and Key Challenges for South Africa and the Region' with an address by Mr Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General.
As part of the G20 initiatives last week, the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or We-Fi, was launched. This was an idea initiated by Ivanka Trump at the April 'Women 20' meeting in Germany. We-Fi seeks to avail over US$1 million to empower women entrepreneurs in developing countries through access to finance, mentorships and technical training, as well as public policy advocacy and reforms on gender equality.
The 12th Summit of the G20 will take place on 7-8 July in Hamburg, representing the culmination of the German presidency of 2017. As expected the German government ran an effective presidency giving substance to the guiding theme, ‘Shaping an Interconnected World’ and building consensus under leading topics of ‘building resilience’, ‘improving sustainability’ and ‘assuming responsibility’.
South Africa has made strides over the last 20 years to promote economic growth and address unemployment, inequality and poverty. Facilitating greater trade, investment and industrialisation is a key part of this strategy.
Friday, 23 June 2017

Brave new world

We are a far cry from the 1800s and the so-called glory days of the British Empire, but sentimentality over ‘making Britain great again’ fuelled the British vote to exit the European Union (EU).
The Kingdom of Lesotho is a country of extremes: breath-taking beauty and widespread poverty. It’s classified by the UN as one of the least developed countries in the world.
Industrialisation is a key driver of sustainable development. It creates jobs, adds value and promotes trade through greater integration into global value chains. At the same time, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are critical to every economy by creating jobs and innovative goods, promoting a competitive environment and economic growth, and facilitating income distribution. The South African government recognises the need for entrepreneurship and SMEs’ engagement with industrialisation efforts to address some of the key socio-economic challenges in the country, particularly poverty, inequality and unemployment. However, South African entrepreneurs still face a number of constraints that hinder greater…
Sonke Gender Justice and SAIIA researchers Matebe Chisiza and Yarik Turianskyi explore how Rwanda has managed to be the world’s leading example in terms of female representation in politics.
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Global Economic Governance Africa (GEGA) Programme invite you to a conference on Finance and Development: Experiences in south-south collaboration from Africa, Asia and Latin America
SAIIA and the Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA), together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), hosted a workshop at the Beshale hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
'Our transformation will be built through economic participation, partnerships and mobilisation of all our capacities.' said ex-Minister Pravin Gordhan, during his 2017/18 budget speech. At the heart of Gordhan’s proposed strategies to further inclusive economic development, with the help of the private sector, lies the potential of South Africa’s cities to stop dividing people and instead act as the agents of transformative economic growth. It is here, in cities, that South Africa has the opportunity to break the patterns that have led to its current inequalities, by, for example, rethinking urban planning to address unemployment, economic exclusion and marginalisation. But…
On 3 April the sword that had been dangling over our heads for the last two years finally came down – South Africa was downgraded by S&P Global to sub-investment grade with a negative outlook. But we may be in ‘good’ company. We have joined both Brazil and Russia in the junk status club. However, our rand-denominated debt is still two notches above sub-investment level, albeit with a negative outlook. As most of our debt is rand-rather than dollar-denominated this is a silver lining.
Today, potential urban investors and entrepreneurs look at Africa and see crowded, disconnected and costly cities. Such cities create low expectations for the scale of urban production and for returns on invested capital.
If the first two months are anything to go by, 2017 will be an unusual year for Africa as two of its largest trading partners – China and America – are undergoing major political and economic transitions.
On 1 February 2017, a high-level conference on Africa’s relationship with the Group of 20 (G20) was opened by the German Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn, who spoke on the key priorities of the German G20 Presidency. A dinner keynote that evening will be delivered by Deputy Governor Daniel Mminele of the South African Reserve Bank.
After his inauguration on Friday, Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. His decidedly short inauguration speech evoked his central narrative of populism and domestic focus, with very little foray into policy detail.
The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be visiting five African countries this month namely Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Republic of Congo and Nigeria. This would mark the Foreign Minister's first overseas destination.
On December 15 2015, President Jacob Zuma assented to the controversial Protection of Investment Act when much of the South African public was on a festive holiday break. This piece of legislation is meant to replace the bilateral investment treaties that SA terminated in 2012, resulting in consternation and outcry from the international investment community based in the country.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development estimates that between USD$ 1.6 trillion and USD$ 2.5 trillion is required annually for the period 2015–2030 to bridge the infrastructure-financing gap in developing countries. Some estimates indicate that sub-Saharan Africa alone requires up to USD$ 93 billion annually until 2020 to finance its infrastructure deficit. Multilateral development banks (MDBs) such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank go a long way towards addressing these challenges.
Lesotho is facing challenges in financing its Queen Mamohato Hospital which costs USD$67 million a year and represents half of the country’s meagre health budget.
Ratings agencies will again this week consider South Africa’s sovereign credit rating. Ratings agencies have indicated that South Africa’s economic growth needs to be at least 1%, up from the current rate of between 0.5 – 0.9%, in order to off a downgrade to ‘junk’ status. Last month, Minister Pravin Gordhan made some bold claims about infrastructure spending in his mid-term budget speech.
SAIIA and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) hosted a Policy Dialogue, to revisit the investment climate in Southern Africa, with a particular focus on Tanzania.
It is common knowledge that SMEs make a significant contribution to their countries’ economies, but they often operate in a kind of twilight zone — seen and acknowledged, but not properly understood or catered for at the policy level.The 2016 WTO Public Forum staged at the end of September in Geneva with the theme of ‘Inclusive trade’ lifted the lid on the hurdles that SMEs face in trying to turn entrepreneurial ideas into viable businesses. However, the services sector offers new hope to small businesses in LDCs (least-developed countries) where weak manufacturing potential is a constraint to further development.
The unexpected presidential win by Donald Trump has sent shock waves across the globe, largely because during his presidential campaign a series of highly controversial statements were made by the Republican candidate on women, the fight against terrorism, migration and global warming.
At long last, the most bruising and sometimes farcical election in recent US history has come to a close. What seemed unthinkable to many just a year ago has happened and Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. While markets have slumped in response, one thing is certain: nearly half of the US population is now faced with a president that they resolutely view as unfit to lead.