SAIIA Policy Briefing No 178, July 2018
The Kingdom of Lesotho is a country of extremes: breath-taking beauty and widespread poverty. It’s classified by the UN as one of the least developed countries in the world.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 238, October 2016
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 231, June 2016
The US Congress passed the African Growth and Opportunity (AGOA) Act into law in 2000 in order to promote US and African trade relations and contribute to economic development on the African continent through export-led growth. AGOA and the US – African trade relationship has been placed under the spotlight in recent months, particularly with regards to the extension of the Act towards September 2015 and around South Africa’s continued benefits under the programme (as the largest AGOA beneficiary).
On Thursday, 21 January 2016 SAIIA will host launch of the World Bank publication, 'Factory Southern Africa? SACU in Global Value Chains'. The publication is the result of an extensive collaborative effort across many organisations and experts that have contributed within their fields of expertise.
One of the defining features of trade policy in South Africa today is its demotion from being a key driver of growth to the use of trade policy as a mere tool of industrial policy. This is not really surprising. In the sustained economic slump since the global financial crisis, most developing – and even developed countries - have become somewhat cynical of trade liberalisation and are looking inward for solutions to their economic woes. Nevertheless, as we pursue our bold economic vision as embodied by the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan there is still a case for a more proactive trade policy.
In addition to Chinese resource investors, reputable Western businesses and international organizations are increasingly touting the positive African growth story unfolding in parts of the sub-continent. The World Economic Forum is a driving force behind this growing ‘Afro-optimist’ perspective, and this was on display in Cape Town last week (3 - 6 May 2011). Broadly the story line encompasses relatively crisis resilient economies, growing middle classes, rapid growth of some economies, and increasingly business friendly and stable policy environments.
Much has been reported lately about the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) with particular reference to the economic crisis in Swaziland and, to a lesser extent, Lesotho. Some of these reports have been inaccurate and distorted. South Africa has once again been portrayed as the regional “bully” that is hampering the growth of neighbouring countries by withholding resources and by hogging investment in the region.
Some have even gone so far as to imply that South Africa is deliberately putting in place industrial policies, such as the recently announced incentives for manufacturers, that will deflect the attention of business away from the other SACU members (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland – the BLNS) who are also hoping to create jobs and expand economic activity following the global recession.
This workshop will consider the political economy of regional integration initiatives in Southern Africa, including what is driving the various processes (SACU, SADC and the Africa Free Trade Zone). It will seek to deepen understanding of the factors that influence regional integration processes, such as the activities of the private sector, governance structures and the alignment with domestic priorities.
Venue: Aluvi House, 2 Clyde Street, Murrayfield, Pretoria
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 68, September 2010
The South African Institute of International Affairs cordially invites you to the Workshop on Global Financial Reform and its effect on SACU Trade in Financial Services
Venue: Jan Smuts House
On June 29, the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) celebrated its centenary. In April, SACU heads of State held their first-ever summit under the theme ‘Implementing a common agenda towards regional integration in Southern Africa’. Tellingly, they plan to meet again this month to discuss “outstanding issues” concerning the organisation’s future. While Sacu may be 100 not out, it is not clear whether this is the end of a good innings or a portent double ton in the making.
SAIIA Occasional Paper, No 63, July 2010
The integrity of SACU has been put under enormous strain owing to continued divisions within the organization concerning the equitable distribution of revenues and the acrimonious Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union (EU). Media reports suggest that the South African government may use these divisions to push for a “downgrading” of SACU from a customs union to a free trade area (FTA); reports emanating from Botswana indicate that sentiment there may be moving in a similar direction.
As the WTO approaches its fifteenth anniversary on 1 January 2010, the organization and its maiden round of multilateral trade negotiations – the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) – stand at a crossroads. Today, support for an open liberal trading system is neither consistent nor unambiguous. Riddled by many global challenges including the global economic recession with its associated collapse of world trade and the continuing spectre of protectionism, 2009 has been a lost year for the multilateral trading system. At their recent summit in Pittsburgh, leaders from the G20 countries therefore made another commitment to conclude the Doha Round in 2010, before US mid-term elections and elections in Brazil.