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Foreign Policy

SAIIA’s Foreign Policy research covers three pillars: South African foreign policy; the foreign policy engagement of key African driver countries in their region, with a specific focus on supporting regional peace and security; and the engagement of key global (including emerging) players in Africa, with the view to supporting African development, peace and stability at a national, regional and continental level.

The programme seeks to produce a body of work that assists policymakers, the business community and civil society working on South African and African foreign policy concerns.

SAIIA Occasional Paper No 182, April 2014
2014 marks two decades since the end of apartheid and the establishment of a constitutional democracy in South Africa. The manner of the country’s transformation to democracy imbued it with soft power of legitimacy and credibility that provided it with unique leverage in global affairs. Coupled with its willingness to become an active global citizen, South Africa has used this soft power in its foreign policy.
A fast-growing population and swift urbanisation rate is putting unprecedented pressure on Africa’s largest cities, most of them rundown by years of underinvestment and neglect. Housing an ever-increasing number of urban dwellers in this context has become a key challenge for most African governments.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 88, April 2014
China is on course to becoming more deeply involved in Africa's security landscape. While the motivation behind Chinese involvement remains primarily economic, the growing exposure of its interests to the vagaries of African politics and pressures to demonstrate greater global activism are bringing about a reconsideration of Beijing's approach to the continent.
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.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 85, March 2014
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 little over a decade Brazil has orbited from the periphery to the core of the international system. In 2014, the year that Brazil is to host the World Cup and the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) summit, three new SAIIA publications provide insights into this rising power.
Prior to the 24th ordinary session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU), foreign ministers of the AU member states met from 24 to 26 January 2014 for their ministerial retreat in Bahir Dar (a city in Amhara state) located on the southern shores of Lake Tana which is the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile.
When Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, led a business delegation to Mozambique in mid-January 2014, he also extended a loan package to the government of USD$672 million to support Mozambique in critical areas of infrastructure development, healthcare and education, and science and technology.
How effective are the BRICS in inspiring confidence in their public diplomacy? This question lies at the heart of their soft power.
Jacques Foccart’s phrase ‘partir pour mieux rester’ (‘leaving in order to stay’) has long exemplified how successive French governments have dealt with Africa. Francophone Africa specifically has been seen as an enduring extension of France. On 6 and 7 December 2013, French President François Hollande will host over 40 African Heads of State and Government at the presidential palace, the Elysée in Paris.
SAIIA and Wits University Press cordially invite you to a discussion with Professor Adam Habib, noted political scientist and Vice Chancellor and Principal of Wits University.  He will speak about South Africa's foreign policy in relation to the National Development Plan and in the context of his recently published book, South Africa's Suspended Revolution: Hopes & Prospects.
SAIIA recently held a two-day meeting called "BRICS and Africa: A Partnership for Sustainable Development." Our Brazilian partners from the BRICS Policy Centre joined the discussions on the political, economic and security issues related to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa or the BRICS group of emerging countries. We used the opportunity to speak to Paulo Esteves, the General Supervisor at Brazil’s BRICS Policy Centre and Head of the International Relations Institute at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.
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.
After successive postponements and delays since a coup d’état in 2009, 33 candidates contested the presidential elections in Madagascar on 25 October 2013. Counting of the votes has not been completed and results are trickling in, with both the Malagasy and the international community waiting for a result that could potentially restore democratic governance in that archipelago.
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 77, November 2013
On 21 to 22 October, SAIIA's chief executive, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, and researcher, Yu-Shan Wu, participated in the launch of the Think Tank 10 + 10 Partnership Plan in Beijing. This partnership plan evolved out of the China-Africa Think Tanks Forum (CATTF), which had been established in 2011 by Zhejiang Normal University.
15 October 2013 marked a year in office for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC). While her election in July 2012 was a source of division among African Union (AU) member states, her reputation as a capable leader signalled a new dawn for the AU. South Africa, which sponsored her candidacy to the chagrin of key regional powers, including Nigeria, used her competencies to articulate implicit weaknesses in the AUC, while mobilising for high expectations regarding the future of the AU.
Africa’s rise over the past decade has worked like a magnet, attracting to the continent new and old partners alike. While the mounting interest in the continent by emerging powers such as China, India and Brazil, and traditional partners such as the United States (US) and the European Union (EU), has inspired a growing stream of research and media attention, one erstwhile power remains conspicuously absent in the analysis: Russia.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 157, September 2013
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 75, October 2013
Just over a month ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya wrote an op-ed about the tremendous opportunities that were opening up to Kenya and east Africa from their geographical positioning in one of the world’s most dynamic regions – the Indian Ocean Rim.
Thursday, 26 September 2013

Arab Spring, Islamist Harvest?

Many writers have suggested that the recent developments in the Arab world constitute more than uprisings, but are actually full blown revolutions, or thawrat to use the Arabic term. SAIIA hosted a members' only meeting addressed by Yacoob Abba Omar on this very topical issue.
South Africans may not appreciate that a diplomatic Bilateral Forum between South Africa and the United Kingdom is something unusual for the British. Pretoria has many similar arrangements and it can be difficult to keep track of them all, but for the United Kingdom it is rare and in Africa, it occurs only with South Africa.