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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.

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.'
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 221, September 2015
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.
Seoul, South Korea 12-14 February 2014: 1st RoundtableHosted by: the Korean Institute of International Economic PolicyDownload Chairman's statement (84 kB)
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.
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.
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.
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)?
SAIIA Report No 19, September 2015  Download - Engish (415.41 kB) Economic Diplomacy ProgrammeInternational 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. 
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.