SAIIA Occasional Paper No 271, October 2017
The rapid expansion of Africa’s cities over the past decades has meant an increasing demand for infrastructure, service delivery and jobs. At the same time African policymakers, urban planners and researchers are clamouring to find innovative solutions to meet these demands. The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – which will see a fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres – will compound these challenges and experts need to plan adequately for the disruptions.
'Our transformation will be built through economic participation, partnerships and mobilisation of all our capacities.' said ex-Minister Pravin Gordhan, during his 2017/18 budget speech. At the heart of Gordhan’s proposed strategies to further inclusive economic development, with the help of the private sector, lies the potential of South Africa’s cities to stop dividing people and instead act as the agents of transformative economic growth. It is here, in cities, that South Africa has the opportunity to break the patterns that have led to its current inequalities, by, for example, rethinking urban planning to address unemployment, economic exclusion and marginalisation. But before cities can create change in South Africa, we must change the way we think about them.
If the first two months are anything to go by, 2017 will be an unusual year for Africa as two of its largest trading partners – China and America – are undergoing major political and economic transitions.
The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be visiting five African countries this month namely Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Republic of Congo and Nigeria. This would mark the Foreign Minister's first overseas destination.
The integration of transport networks within Africa has long been a priority for the continent, for reasons of trade and political development. Last week, the dream to connect all major African cities through a high-speed railway network took a critical step forward with the signing of a five-year action plan between the African Union and China.
SAIIA Policy Insights No 35, September 2016
The 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) opened on Sunday in Kigali, Rwanda. This year’s summit runs throughout this week and takes place under the theme, ‘A Year of Human Rights, with Special Focus on the Rights of Women’. When the AU was established in 2002, it created numerous opportunities for an ambitious democracy and human rights agenda in the foreign and continental policies of African states.
The importance of international relations to a country’s well-being is not always apparent to the ordinary person in the street. Often regarded as an unnecessary expense when a country such as South Africa faces significant economic and social challenges, ministries of foreign affairs easily fall prey to the fiscal austerity knife.
Discussions about the Global Commons often veer towards a consideration of great power engagement and commercial activities in the Arctic Circle – made possible by the effects of climate change. However, these developments are equally pertinent for the Antarctic Circle, the subject of a new SAIIA research report.
Fifteen years after its inception, the sixth Forum on China Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) will be held in Johannesburg on December 4-5 under the theme, ‘Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development’. Launched in October 2000 in Beijing as a tri-annual collective dialogue platform for co-operation between China and Africa, FOCAC is a signal of the dynamic and expanding nature of China-Africa relations.