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Governance, Democracy and Accountability (776)

On Friday, 15 June 2018, SAIIA’s senior managers met with members of the Diplomatic Training, Research and Development Branch at the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) headquarters in Pretoria.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa literally looms large above the bustling streets of Harare: his smiling face beams down from giant billboards all over the city. Zimbabweans are gearing up for critical elections on 30 July, the first in decades not to feature Robert Mugabe and the late Morgan Tsvangirai on the presidential ballot.
The South African Institute of International Affairs recently held a workshop on 'Zimbabwe: International Engagement for a Prosperous and Peaceful New Era'
2,000 representatives of civil society, government and the tech community from over 70 countries met in the beautiful and sunny capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, from 17 to 19 July to discuss progress in governmental transparency and accountability during the 5th Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit. It is worth reflecting on what this initiative is and what it and its counter-parts aim to achieve.
Friday, 25 May 2018

Celebrating Africa Day

Fifty-five years ago today, the Organisation of Africa Unity was born. Founded by 32 states, its quest was to bring about freedom and unity on the continent. The body was renamed the African Union in 2004 but its goal remains the same in 2018: a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa for all.
Pan-Africanism – the liberation of Africans through regional cohesion and solidarity – has played a crucial role in shaping the continent’s development.
Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana – with a population of just 250,000 – is symbolised by dragons and is one of the greenest cities in Europe.
The South African government and the Chamber of Mines are in the process of formulating a new Mining Charter. The charter serves as a blueprint for transforming the mining industry. Its primary aim is to benefit people who were disadvantaged under colonialism and apartheid. The sector was particularly exploitative and left a destructive legacy. Hence the need for a social compact.
The Report Card on International Cooperation gives a dismal C- to international efforts to mitigate the world’s most pressing problems in 2017, the same grade given for 2016.
China’s decision to suspend presidential term limits is still reverberating around the world. The announcement, made after a vote by China’s parliament in March, prompted some commentators to draw comparisons with “third termism” in Africa, when leaders flout democratic conventions to stay in power as long as possible.
The African Union’s 2018 theme: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”, offers a strategic opportunity to encourage citizens to play their part in good governance.
The South African Institute of International Affairs, Western Cape Branch cordially invites you to a Speaker's meeting to be addressed by Robert Jackson on 'The meaning of Brexit' (and the underlying currents in Europe around it).
South Africa’s 2019 general elections will be a critical moment for democracy as the country welcomes a post-Zuma future. Equally important is the impact of his presidency on South Africa’s international standing. This piece will reflect on South Africa’s foreign policy under President Zuma - exploring the direction and key achievements and shortcomings/failures during his tenure. To what extent has South Africa’s foreign policy in the Zuma administration responded to domestic and continental needs?
The lesson of a decade’s state capture in South Africa may be that citizens and organised civil society should not limit active participation in political processes only to election time, and institutions are only as good as the people who respect them in letter and in spirit.
Jacob Zuma has resigned as South Africa’s president – an inevitable move, following the African National Congress’ withdrawal of its support. Two decades after Nelson Mandela tried – and failed – to pass the presidency to Cyril Ramaphosa, the former deputy president and current ANC head has become South Africa’s leader. And the challenges that Ramaphosa will face are almost as daunting as those Mandela confronted in lifting his country from the ruins of apartheid.
The South African Institute of International Affairs, The Institute for Public Policy Research (Namibia), and The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa cordially invite you to a roundtable discussion: Anti-Corruption in Namibia – At A Tipping Point? Views from Southern Africa Namibia has generally been viewed as a well-governed country since its independence from South Africa in 1990.
With Bitcoin volatility making daily headlines, even those living in the technological ‘Dark Ages’ are realising that the future is digital. Financial transactions, communication and administrative tasks are in cyberspace more often than in the real world. Most people cannot function without their social media, banking and communications apps.
In the Americas, when a young Latina girl turns 15, she celebrates her fiesta de quinceañera, a coming of age ceremony. Across the Atlantic Ocean, Africa’s most important governance self-evaluation and promotion instrument – the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) – will also officially turn 15 on 9 March 2018. These milestone birthdays are important occasions to reflect, but more importantly to look forward. As the APRM gets ready to smash open the piñata, SAIIA looks at what happened at the recent APRM meetings on the side-lines of the AU Summit in dusty, bustling Addis Ababa, and asks what lies…
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 275, January 2018
The revitalisation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is evidence of African governments’ renewed commitment to strengthening good governance, development and democracy in Africa. The APRM will be celebrating its 15th Anniversary on 9 March 2018, after a vibrant revival in 2016-2017, marked by Country Review missions in Chad, Djibouti, Kenya, Senegal, Sudan, Liberia, and the recent Uganda Review Mission in 2017.
Dear SAIIA friends and colleagues,
As institutions mature, they should take stock to gear themselves for the future. Led by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, a process is under way at the African Union (AU) to do just that. How might this this reform drive affect the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the continent’s voluntary governance promotion and assessment instrument?
Monday, 27 November 2017

An alternative path for Zimbabwe

Our Chief Executive Elizabeth Sidiropolous spoke to China Global Television Network (CGTN) Liu Xin about a possible presidential impeachment process in Zimbabwe and whether SADC-led mediation would be beneficial if civil unrest were to break out.
Days after Zimbabwe was plunged into political crisis, our Deputy Chair Moeletsi Mbeki spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about the timing of the military’s intervention and whether South Africa had any muscle to intervene.
As the dust settles on Kenya’s divisive repeat elections, there is an understandable urge to move forward, to return to a sense of normalcy. Kenya is, after all, the most vibrant economy in the East African region and a bulwark against instability issuing from fragile neighbours.
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