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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 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.
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.
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…
On 21 July 2015, SAIIA, the OECD, and South Africa's National Treasury officially launched the OECD South Africa Economic Survey 2015.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
The signing of the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) two weeks ago in Egypt between three of Africa’s major economic blocs COMESA, the EAC and SADC is an important development for intra-African trade and investment. By taking the first step towards the establishment of an economic bloc spanning the continent from South to North East, the African leaders have also laid the foundation for the establishment of a sizeable consumer market for international investors. Yet, it hardly received the attention it deserved at the AU’s 25th Summit in Johannesburg from 7 – 15 June 2015.
Thursday, 02 July 2015

BRICS Materials 2015

Leaders from the BRICS countries - Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa - will meet on 8-9 July 2015 in the Russian city of Ufa. Many key developments are expected to arise from the Summit, which takes place as Russia’s relationship with the United States and its European allies worsens, while its ties to BRICS appear to have become closer.
On 2 July 2015, SAIIA and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) hosted a special two-day seminar on 'Global Sustainability, Climate Change and Finance Policy.' A briefing from the event is now available.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been a hot topic in South Africa, following the government's unilateral cancellation of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with the European Union and the release of the draft Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill. But what is FDI, and why is it important? What are the other issues at play in the region when it comes to investment?
On the sidelines of this week’s OECD meetings in Paris, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and US Trade Representative Mike Froman will try and overcome the protracted dispute between the two countries on chicken exports.