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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.'

Published in Opinion & Analysis


Today’s global political landscape is characterised by a number of disruptions to the status quo. A challenge to democracy revealed itself in the form of populism, as the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s win attested. The threat of climate change, violent extremism and mass migration continues to shake Africa. In the midst of these developments, the 28th African Union (AU) Summit, held in Addis Ababa last month, on 30-31 January 2017, was markedly different to previous meetings.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

A set of China-Africa policy essays – by practitioners, scholars and researchers – on issues around governance, peace and security, conservation and industrialisation has just been translated into Mandarin.

Published in News & Announcements

A crucial international wildlife meeting is currently taking place in South Africa. But can these kinds of high-level conferences translate into local actions to protect endangered wildlife such the African elephant? In an article for The Mercury, SAIIA Senior Researcher Yu-Shan Wu discusses the findings of her latest research into the matter.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Values, Culture and the Ivory Trade Ban

SAIIA Occasional Paper No 244, September 2016

Published in Occasional Papers
In the context of a ‘normalising’ Chinese economy, that seeks to move from a manufacturing-centred economy to one driven by consumption and services, there are obviously concerns about the impact on Africa through a decrease in commodity exports (and income) to China. Yet such shifts also signal opportunity and perhaps changes in China’s approach towards the continent, to include ‘softer’ issues - like closer public interaction.
Published in Opinion & Analysis

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. 

Published in News & Announcements

SAIIA Policy Insights No 28, October 2015

Published in Policy Insights
How are states employing cultural diplomacy in an increasingly interconnected world in shaping understanding between societies while promoting preferential co-operation between nations? Observers of China-South Africa relations will have noticed the increasing reference to the ‘China Year in South Africa’ by officials on both sides.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
Saturday, 24 January 2015

Factsheet: China-Africa Relations

China-Africa ties have expanded beyond trade and investment in extractive industries to engagement in telecommunications, infrastructure, manufacturing, finance, media, agriculture and peace and security issues.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma will be making his second state visit to China between 4 and 5 December 2014. China-South Africa relations have steadily progressed at the bilateral level and beyond, since official relations were established in 1998 - and have been further upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since 2010.
Published in News & Announcements
The announcement of a joint agreement between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Hebei Iron and Steel Group to open a steel mill in Phalaborwa could signal a new stage in the longstanding relationship between South Africa and China. Financed in part by the China Africa Development Fund, the deal reportedly involves the Chinese company taking a 51% share in the joint venture and building a processing plant that will go beyond the mere extraction of resources for export and generate local employment.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
South Africa, a leading economy on the African continent, and China, the largest developing country in the world, have forged a unique partnership. Operating at bilateral, continental and multilateral levels, the governments are actively striving to realise the comprehensive strategic partnership envisaged in 2010.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 199, August 2014
Published in Occasional Papers
Since China hosted the 2008 Beijing Olympics there has been a marked increase in the active bidding and subsequent hosting of global mega-events by countries considered ‘rising’ in international affairs. In 2010 the Commonwealth Games was hosted in India, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the World Expo in China. Fast forward to 2014 and Russia held the Sochi Winter Olympics, while Brazil is set to host the upcomming 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Published in Opinion & Analysis

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.

How effective are the BRICS in inspiring confidence in their public diplomacy? This question lies at the heart of their soft power.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
As the votes are counted after yesterday's Zimbabwean election, we thought the following article might be of interest. An anonymous social media commentator has attracted the world's attention in the run-up to the election. SAIIA's Yu-Shan Wu (@yushan_wu) and Catherine Grant Makokera (@cathgmak) take a look at what they call "one manifestation of a silent revolution ... taking place."
Published in Media
If there is one thing that is different to the 2008 Zimbabwean elections, it is that the 2013 election has a new ‘candidate’. His name is Baba Jukwa. The anonymous social media icon and commentator, portrayed as a cartoon of an old man and coined ‘the Julian Assange of Zimbabwe’, has attracted the world’s attention.
Published in Opinion & Analysis
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