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SAIIA today held a diplomatic briefing, addressed by Elizabeth Sidiropoulos and Cyril Prinsloo, on 'The Geopolitics of the 'new normal': South Africa in the BRICS 5 years on.'

On 4 May 2016, SAIIA and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) will host a multi-stakeholder dialogue to engage some of the region’s most influential policymakers and private sector actors. This event will generate a meaningful discussion on the opportunities for service sector development and the achievement of sustainable development objectives.

Each year, leaders and influencers from all sectors of civil society gather in Paris for the OECD Forum, to debate the most pressing social and economic challenges confronting society. In 2016, SAIIA is proud to be an official knowledge partner for the Forum.

SAIIA Research Report No 23, March 2016

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Foreign Policy Programme

One of the most effective global governance regimes of the post-World War II period that has received very little attention over the years is the Antarctic Treaty. Driven by Cold War pressures and a failure to regulate multiple and overlapping land claims in Antarctica, the US initiated a process that led to the 1959 Antarctic Treaty (the Treaty). Of the 50 Treaty members, 29 (including South Africa) are 'consultative parties' with voting rights. The Treaty provides for inspections and stipulates, inter alia, that Antarctica should remain a zone of peace and scientific enquiry, setting to the one side existing territorial claims. Furthermore, under the Madrid Protocol (which came into force in 1998), mineral exploration is prohibited until at least 2048. Although the Treaty is regarded as generally successful, it is in need of reform, in particular as regards its twotier membership structure and the non-applicability of its provisions to non-members. Other threats to the Treaty include possible mineral exploration, biological prospecting, unsustainable levels of commercial fishing (legal and illegal) and mass tourism.


SSA finds it challenging to integrate into the regional and global trading system. Geography and history are determinants of trade costs, but not the full story. Policy must play a role, both in terms of pure trade policy and also the set of measures surrounding infrastructure development and utilization – particularly air and maritime transport. Trade in agriculture costs higher than in manufacturing – considering that most SSA rely on agriculture trade this compounds the problem. Tropical products, horticulture goods, cut flowers have achieved considerable success in export markets by making use of good air and maritime linkages.
Key finding include that the UK and USA are important SSA countries as sources of final demand in both agriculture and textiles, although the nature of the relevant value chains is quite different with a much longer chain developing in textiles, possibly due to the provisions of AGOA.
Weak global connectivity of SSA countries due to weak global networks of trade in turn due to weak performances of air and maritime connectivity.

Additional Info

The findings of the study are:

  • SACU firms are highly likely to experience major or severe customs and trade regulations compared to most other regions, making it more likely that firms trade on an intra- rather than an extra-regional basis.
  • The experience of firm’s manager is critical determinant on whether firms trade intra- or extra-regional.
  • Firms exporting on extra-regional basis are more likely to be foreign-owned.
  • A change in firm ownership and a new type of relationship with lead firms may be necessary in order to access some types of GVCs. All exporters in South Africa have a share of foreign ownership.
  • Domestic firms may have more opportunities to launch their own manufactured and branded products within their home market or in neighbouring markets with similar levels of development.

Additional Info

  • Institution Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  • Year Published 2015
  • Sectors General
  • Commodities General
  • Country (ies) Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland

SAIIA is proud to announce its co-hosting of a fellow with Chatham House and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. 


Paper gives short overview of the clothing industry, discussing the clothing global value chains and its main actors, the regulatory environment of global clothing trade and global trade patterns. It identifies different types of clothing firms and value chain channels and their implications on upgrading, skill development and sustainability, and assesses main challenges.

Additional Info