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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.

As the sixth BRICS head of state summit approaches, it is clear that the grouping’s agenda is far from static. The BRICS Policy Center (BPC) and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) hosted a seminar to address some of the inter-BRICS and intra-BRICS dynamics relevant to the consolidation of the grouping as a whole.
This year’s Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) Summit will be held in July in Fortaleza, Brazil. Experts from the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) will be in Brazil from Wednesday 12 March 2014 for a number of events related to the upcoming Summit.
In 2012 Walmart announced the acquisition of a majority stake in South African retail chain Massmart. The deal, valued at USD$2.4 billion, was one of the largest single inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) into South Africa, and signified that the formerly isolated country at the tip of the African continent had transformed into a gateway to the emerging ‘new growth market’ in Africa. But the Walmart deal met with mounting resistance.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 84, February 2014
The University of Pretoria, Politics Department and the South African Institute of International Affairs are co-hosting a roundtable on 19 February 2014, on Trade And Misaligned Currencies: Towards A WTO Solution For Predatory Government Interventions?
SAIIA and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) have released a new set of short case studies that shed light on regional integration in Southern Africa - where it has worked well, where new thinking is underway, and what and who can drive concrete regional cooperation.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 170, December 2014
TIPS and SAIIA hosted a Speaker’s Meeting addressed by Dr. Witney Schneidman, Senior International Advisor for Africa, Covington & Burling LLP & Nonresident Senior Fellow, Africa Growth Initiative, Brookings. He spoke on 'The Renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Prospects for US-South African Trade Relations'.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has formed the bedrock of trade between the US and African countries since it entered into force in 2000. Under AGOA, South Africa and other African countries enjoy duty free access to the US market. This access has helped make the United States the second biggest market for South African goods, and the largest market for key manufacturing sectors, such as the motor industry.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 167, December 2013
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 79, December 2013
Go to any conference in the world and say ‘Doha Development Agenda’, and the room is likely to empty. But not in China. Recently I was impressed with the degree of interest amongst China’s trade policy elite in the future of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the global trading system of which it is a part.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 165, November 2013
On 4 December 2013, SAIIA will host a session on the sidelines of the 9th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, on the topic  "BRICS and the Multilateral Trading System." This session is part of the Bali Trade and Development Symposium, which will take place from 3-5 December.
Three years ago this author reflected on how the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ought to adapt and evolve in order to stay relevant. The focus was on the changes the multilateral trading system has faced over the years from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to the WTO we know today. In advance of the all-important 9th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Bali, Indonesia from 3 to 6 December 2013, much of that thinking remains relevant and the issues raised are still at the core of the existential crisis that the WTO finds itself in.
Monday, 02 December 2013

The Africa by Numbers Report

On 2 December 2013, SAIIA hosted a presentation by Ernst & Young Services (Pty) Ltd on their Africa by Numbers Report, which focuses on the Africa growth story and provides analyses of investment trends, infrastructure projects and economic sectors attracting the most FDI.
South Africa is undergoing a significant transition in its approach to inward FDI. Various Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) signed immediately after the end of apartheid are now being allowed to expire, and these BITS are set to be replaced by a single domestic investment regime.
At the 33rd Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held in Malawi in August Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax of Tanzania was appointed as the new Executive Secretary. SAIIA would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Dr Tax on her new role in the region. Dr Tax inherits an organisation with a chequered past and a challenging future.
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the BRICS Policy Center (BPC) in Brazil hosted a conference on ‘BRICS and Africa – A Partnership for Sustainable Development?’. Presentations and other materials are available here.
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan this week gave a keynote address at the South African Institute of International Affairs and the University of Pretoria’s Second Annual African G-20 Conference, themed “The G-20 and Africa's Economic Growth and Transformation”, in Rosebank, Johannesburg, on November 11 2013.
South Africa's cabinet has recently approved the draft Promotion and Protection of Investment bill, which is set to replace a score of bilateral trade agreements. While investors fear that the bill may threaten the security of foreign investment, the Department of Trade and Industry has assured investors they will have strong protection under the new law, with the right to international arbitration once all domestic means of resolving a dispute have been exhausted.
Two new books on the emergence of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping will come under the spotlight during SAIIA’s two-day conference on ‘BRICS and Africa: A partnership for Development’ on Wednesday, 13 November 2013. A special discussion at the conference will explore the impact of this emerging powers bloc on the current global political and economic systems.
Climate change, the focus of the 19th Conference of Parties (COP19) underway in Poland from 11 to 22 November 2013, is one challenge that requires a truly global response that encompasses environmental, social and economic issues. Reflecting this the term “green economy” has seen an upsurge in interest globally and SAIIA’s Economic Diplomacy Programme is undertaking new research in this area, especially since the issue was placed on the Group of 20 (G-20) agenda in 2012.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 162, November 2013
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 78, November 2013