Global headlines in the run-up to the 9th BRICS summit were dominated by the North Korean missile crisis and the stand-off in Doklam, high in the Himalayas, in Bhutan. The former had a direct bearing on the interests of Russia and China, as they share a border with North Korea, but positioned them on the same side in calling for a de-escalation in tensions between the US and North Korea. In the case of the latter though, it pitted two BRICS members, India and China, against each other.
Although the theme of the 9th BRICS Summit is “A Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”, there is likely to be some underlying tension among the five member states when they meet in Xiamen, East China’s Xiamen province, from Sept 3 to 5.
SAIIA invites members of the media to our special briefing on the 9th BRICS Summit.
In June, South Africa’s public protector announced there would be a new investigation into the #GuptaLeaks allegations of corruption at the highest levels of government. It’s a symptom of South Africa’s broader problems.
The 12th Summit of the G20 will take place on 7-8 July in Hamburg, representing the culmination of the German presidency of 2017. As expected the German government ran an effective presidency giving substance to the guiding theme, ‘Shaping an Interconnected World’ and building consensus under leading topics of ‘building resilience’, ‘improving sustainability’ and ‘assuming responsibility’.
Meeting his counterparts in Europe on his first overseas trip in May, President Donald Trump failed to reassure them that the military alliance, which has been the backbone of the Atlantic relationship since the end of the Cold War, will receive the same degree of commitment from the US as in the past.
This statement is supported by renowned scholars from rising powers of the South as well as Germany. The common position demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the Paris Accord and expresses our determination to deepen joint knowledge creation on existential issues for human survival and sustainable development, for global justice and social integration.
In a world facing growing chasms between poor and rich, terrorism and global pandemics, as well as challenges around political stability and accountability, the time has never been more urgent to facilitate an inclusive global discourse on solving these challenges.
Earlier this year, president Xi Jinping strode the world stage at Davos with his statement that 'We should commit ourselves to growing an open global economy… Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room.'
When it comes to the economic reputation of a country are credit rating agencies (CRAs) part of the problem or part of the solution? This question has received increasing focus since the 2008 financial crisis, particularly in light of the impact these agencies’ ratings can have on already vulnerable countries by affecting their ability to access capital markets and, importantly, foreign direct investment.
On 3 April the sword that had been dangling over our heads for the last two years finally came down – South Africa was downgraded by S&P Global to sub-investment grade with a negative outlook. But we may be in ‘good’ company. We have joined both Brazil and Russia in the junk status club. However, our rand-denominated debt is still two notches above sub-investment level, albeit with a negative outlook. As most of our debt is rand-rather than dollar-denominated this is a silver lining.
In his oration at Nelson Mandela’s official burial ceremony in December 2013, Uncle Kathy as Ahmed Kathrada was affectionately known, said that his friend had joined “the A-team” of the ANC, which included Chief Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Helen Joseph and Bram Fischer among others. Now the 87-year-old activist and struggle veteran has also left us to join them in a place that is more serene and less fraught than life on earth.
In February 2015, South Africa experienced an upsurge of xenophobic attacks throughout the country. In response to this horrendous act, SAIIA Chief Executive, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, wrote this article and former senior researcher Tjiurimo Hengari wrote a related paper on the subject ‘Xenophobia Trivialises South Africa’s Ambitious Africa Policy’. Earlier this week the violent acts flared up again in Pretoria West. The institute again calls for an end to the violence and the stereotyping of certain groups as more crime-prone than others. South Africa must address the ‘demon’ of xenophobia and violence once and for all if it is to remain a leader for good on the continent.
Just at the time that the world signed a landmark development compact – the 2030 Agenda – and climate change agreement, the slogan ‘Take our country back’ or ‘Make America great again’ became the clarion anti-establishment call in parts of Europe and the US. The liberal international order, especially of the last 25 years, is considered by many analysts to be under threat and Germany is regarded by some as a bastion against its decline.
Eight years ago the American people voted for “Yes, we can”, Barack Obama’s politics of hope. Eight years ago many across the world were celebrating the election of the first African-American president and the new politics that it might bring. But over the last eight years we have seen a rise in political extremes both in the US and across Europe.
South Africans woke up on the morning of 21 October 2016 to the shocking announcement that the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana Mashabane, had submitted an instrument of withdrawal from the Rome Statute to the UN Secretary General in New York, two days before. This notification signals South Africa’s intention to withdraw from the Statute that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a year’s time.
SAIIA Policy Insights No 37, September 2016
As the full extent of the potential for the world to enter into a Great Depression became clearer in 2008, the G20 Finance meeting was elevated to a Leaders 20, a point that had for some years been advocated by former Canadian prime minister, Paul Martin, among others. Its convening confirmed what many had known for some time – that the G7 was no longer able to manage global crises on its own. The G20 represented most of the systemically important economies whose cooperation and coordination were essential to avert a Great Depression.
When the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) was launched in 1993 by Japan in co-operation with the World Bank, the UN, and the UN Development Programme, it was the first such initiative of one country seeking to deepen its partnership with Africa. From 27-28 August, TICAD will be held for the first time in an African country. This milestone reflects the evolving nature of relations between Japan and the continent, and the more assertive and confident agency of African countries in their interactions with external powers.