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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 integration of transport networks within Africa has long been a priority for the continent, for reasons of trade and political development. Last week, the dream to connect all major African cities through a high-speed railway network took a critical step forward with the signing of a five-year action plan between the African Union and China.
The Public Forum is an annual three-day event organised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to facilitate discussions and debates from global actors on issues facing trade and development. This year's event, held from 27 to 29 September 2016, focused on 'Inclusive Trade' as a way to harness trade for the economic empowerment of the most marginalised members of society, and finding innovative ways to make trading conditions easier for them.
This week the United States (US) hosted African nations for the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum under the theme: ‘Maximising AGOA now while preparing for the future beyond AGOA'. AGOA, a unilateral development programme offering African countries duty free access for select exports to the US, is set to expire in 2025.
The TRADE research entity at the North-West University and SAIIA jointly held a workshop on 'Navigating Global Economic Headwinds and Tailwinds: New Directions for Industrial and Trade Policy'.
SAIIA and the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa held a panel discussion on 'Reflections on how to create a transparent and sustainable location for doing business in the commodities sector: the Swiss case.' This discussion was led by H.E. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs.
The 11th G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China closed earlier this week, focusing on the 'New' Industrial Revolution and technological changes, such as big data, robotics, and cloud computing. Innovation has been China’s key area of interest throughout their G-20 Presidency, dedicating many discussions to how new industries could invigorate the global economy.
The international investment landscape has been shifting over the past two decades. Governments are increasingly realising the potential for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to achieve not only economic growth, but developmental objectives as well.
SAIIA and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) held a policy dialogue on  ‘Revisiting the Migration Regimes in the EAC, SADC and COMESA.’
SAIIA, DNA Economics and Tutwa Consulting are extremely pleased to be collaborating on a new project, Global Economic Governance Africa (GEG Africa), the first phase of which SAIIA managed from 2012-2015.  Following consultations with stakeholders, this new phase will provide more in-depth political and economic analysis of evolving GEG policy priorities in South Africa and across the continent.
As the full extent of the potential for the world to enter into a Great Depression became clearer in 2008, the G20 Finance meeting was elevated to a Leaders 20, a point that had for some years been advocated by former Canadian prime minister, Paul Martin, among others. Its convening confirmed what many had known for some time – that the G7 was no longer able to manage global crises on its own. The G20 represented most of the systemically important economies whose cooperation and coordination were essential to avert a Great Depression.
The UCT Graduate School of Business Connect and the South African Institute of International Affairs will host a round table with Dr Andreas Dombret, Member of the Executive Board Deutsche Bundesbank, on 'Global political uncertainty and its implications for the post-crisis supervisory and regulatory regime.'
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the University of Pretoria (UP) held a Speaker’s Meeting to be addressed by Dr Andreas Dombret, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, on 'From Dream to Reality – How Finances Serves the Economy, and How Not.'
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 238, October 2016
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 237, October 2016
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 236, July 2016
A meeting on the SADC Regional Investment Framework is taking place in Johannesburg this week, to look at, amongst other priorities, investment in regional and global value chains. These discussions will take place against the background of slowing global economic growth and a decline in commodity earnings for African countries.
SAIIA, the Economic Policy Forum (EPF) and the Southern-African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAGCC) held a Business Breakfast Discussion on 'Regional Drivers and Barriers to Business' on 26 July 2016.
The Beitbridge border between Zimbabwe and South Africa, the busiest border post in Southern Africa, has been rocked by unprecedented violent protests since June. The protests largely concern the restrictive trade measures unexpectedly introduced by the Zimbabwean government, which included banning the importation of basic commodities like body creams, baked beans and bottled water.
Dear Editors and Journalists,  The New Development Bank, a development finance institution set up by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of countries, will host its first Annual Meeting this week in Shanghai, China. Experts from the Global Economic Governance Africa programme (a partnership between SAIIA, DNA Economics and Tutwa Consulting) have been following developments closely, and will be in Shanghai to attend the meeting.
Africa’s infrastructure financing deficit, estimated to be $100 billion a year, remains persistently large. The resulting lack of investment in energy, transport and water infrastructure on the continent presents a significant barrier to economic growth and development.
SAIIA is holding a roundtable discussion on 'A Step Too Far or a Legitimate Balancing Act? Reflection on the US decision to block the reappointment of a WTO Judge of Appeal' led by Professor Meredith Lewis.
Dear Editors and Journalists, On 29 June 2016, the Office of the United States Trade Representative submitted a report to Congress on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), following the one-year extension of this wide-ranging programme in 2015. This report presented an overview of the AGOA programme, the status quo of US trade and investment relations with sub-Saharan Africa, the status of regional integration in Africa, US capacity-building efforts on the continent, and initial discussions on economic relations with African countries when AGOA expires in 2025.
What many political and financial analysts viewed until a day before the British referendum on a European exit as scaremongering has come to be. The 72% voter turnout resulted in a 51.9% vote to leave the EU and a 48.1% vote in favour of remaining. While it essentially signals a split down the middle of UK voters, a closer look at the results reveals that the majority of voters in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the city of London supported the ‘remain’ vote, while the rest of England and Wales with a few small exceptions voted in favour of ‘leave’.
Who would have thought that the Brexit debate’s rising emotions would have reached their apogee in a horrific killing in the streets of a West Yorkshire town a week before the referendum that will determine the economic and global trajectory of Britain? The stakes are high, but it is equally clear that for all the expert opinions on the foolishness of an exit, many people may well vote with their hearts this Thursday, driven by a rhetoric that plays to bygone days of unmitigated national sovereignty and an imperial Britain that ‘ruled the waves’ and was at the centre of…
The 2016 US presidential elections are just around the corner, and the world has been watching closely as this year’s particularly colourful and controversial campaigns have unfolded. Last week, when South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Nkoana Maite-Mashabane, was asked about her position on the US elections, she responded that she does not really care who wins. This begs the question: can Africa’s most sophisticated economy afford to ignore the US elections?
Migration and the movement of people have become a multi-dimensional challenge in Africa. In order to investigate this challenge, SAIIA, on behalf of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), has been undertaking a research study focusing on the immigration protocols within the three Regional Economic Communities making up the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). Tanzania, as the proposed host of the TFTA Secretariat, is an ideal place for engaging on these issues. Foreign Direct Investment, and more specifically, how to foster a greater enabling environment for FDI, has also been a key area of focus for SAIIA. As part of ongoing…