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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.

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).
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