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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.

SAIIA Occasional Paper No 193, June 2014
The emergence of the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) grouping coincided with the notion of an ‘Africa Rising’, a term coined following Africa's growing economic prosperity. The rise of BRICS also overlapped with their increased involvement in Africa.
In advance of the sixth annual BRICS Heads of State Summit, to be held in Fortaleza, Brazil from 14-16 July 2014, SAIIA has compiled an engaging range of new materials about the grouping's past, present and future.
As the BRICS meet in Fortaleza, Brazil from 14-16 July 2014, attention is once again on the group’s efforts to establish two new financial institutions: the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement. Negotiations are underway on both and, while it remains uncertain that they will be officially launched in Fortaleza, substantial progress is expected to be announced at the summit.
Tuesday, 08 July 2014

BRICS Media Briefing 2014

The South African Institute of International Affairs and the Global Economic Governance Africa (GEG-Africa) Project invited members of the press to a special media briefing on "BRICS: from Durban to Fortaleza, what to expect," on 8 July 2014.
An update is now available for the highly popular online resource 'BRICS and the World Order: Beginners Guide.' You can download this update in PDF (244.02 kB) or read it…
In advance of the 2014 the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) Summit, an update is now available for the highly popular online resource 'BRICS and the New World Order: A Beginners Guide', produced by SAIIA and CUTS International.
New research on the trade policies of each of the BRICS countries, using the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a frame of reference, is now available for the first time in English.
BRICS’ critics were dealt a crippling blow recently when the group, which is often accused of being a talk shop, showed they are also very keen on reading. In an unusual move for an international summit, the group released an official 'BRICS Bibliography', listing key readings for those wishing to know more about the leaders, economics, history, literature, politics and sociology of each country.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 192, June 2014
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 191, June 2014
Green economic growth is constructed around six main sectors: green or renewables energies; green and energyefficient buildings; clean transportation; water management and conservation; waste management, including recycling; and land management, including multiple land use. Green energy, though, is at the heart of the green economy in the 21st Century. The threat of disruptive climate change has directed attention on the central role that energy plays in shaping the future interaction between humankind and the natural resources on which it is dependant. It is vital that renewable energy sources and green industries become more competitive relative to the entrenched fossil fuels,…
SAIIA hosted a panel discussion on 11 June 2014, addressed by Professor Bernard Hoekman, Programme Director of Global Economics at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy on ‘Restoring Multilateral Trade Co-operation’. Professor Hoekman’s presentation was followed by responses from a panel of international experts. The South African Department of Trade and Industry presented Special Remarks responding to the presentations and discussion.
The world trading system is at a critical juncture. This particularly concerns the drawn out Doha Round which, until the WTO's Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013, had been at an impasse since 2008.
SAIIA and the Mandela Institute of the University of Witwatersrand hosted a Speakers Meeting on 27 May 2014, which was addressed by Dr Olivier Blanchard, Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on ‘The Global Economic Outlook and Emerging Markets’.
Brazil 'is the country of the future and always will be'. Attributed to Stefan Zweig, an Austrian novelist who emigrated to Brazil in 1941, this quote could be adapted to Nigeria, which recently hosted the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Africa Summit in Abuja.
The South African Institute of International Affairs and the South African Ministry of Finance invite you to a cocktail reception and discussion session on 'South Africa in the G-20 and the BRICS: In pursuit of development', with Mmakgoshi Phetla-Lekhete, Deputy Director General, National Treasury of South Africa.
With a persistently high unemployment rate, building an economy that provides opportunities for all is extremely important to all the political parties contesting the 2014 South African general election.
On Sunday 6 April 2014 on the way to the SAIIA offices in Braamfontein I passed many Nigerian churches, which are now permanent features of inner-city Johannesburg. Sermons were already underway and sounded celebratory. I wondered if they were celebrating the announcement of Nigeria being named the continent’s largest economy, usurping South Africa.
A new project, 'A Review of South Africa’s Trade Strategy in Light of Global Developments', has been established by SAIIA with support from the British High Commission. It proposes significant adjustments to current South African trade strategy stances, particularly in light of the impasse at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the resulting development of ‘mega-regional agreements’ outside the WTO system. Below are all of the materials created by the project.
Representatives of 54 African and 28 European States, including over 30 heads of state, will meet in Brussels on 2 and 3 April for the fourth EU-Africa Summit. The meeting has a broad-ranging agenda under the title “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”.
South Africa’s approach to regulating the protection of foreign investments and investors has become controversial. It has centered on the future of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), pitting the European Union (EU) against the South African government. The debate was precipitated by the SA government’s decision to terminate or not renew BITs. Now it is refocusing on the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, released on 1 November 2013. A three-month window for public comments on the bill has recently closed.
SAIIA hosted a Public Forum on 'A Review of South Africa’s Trade Strategy in Light of Global Developments', 25 March 2014, in conjunction with the British High Commission and the New Zealand High Commission.
2013 was a difficult year for the five BRICS countries. China and Brazil faced slowing growth, South Africa and India were hit by currency instability, and concern over Russia’s governance deepened (before recent events in the Ukraine pitched them into all-out crisis). As doubts have mounted, investors have increasingly turned back to traditional investment destinations like the United States and Europe, as well as to new formations like the MINTs (Mexico, India, Nigeria and Turkey).