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DAVOS is important for at least three reasons: it plays a critical role in setting an agenda for global discussions throughout the year; provides networking opportunities of the highest order; and offers countries opportunities to brand themselves with an elite, powerful investor community. It is thus appropriate that South Africa is properly represented. But what can we expect?
In a new series of video interviews, a special panel of experts present fresh insights into the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and their relationship with Africa. The latest interview is with Brendan Vickers from the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa, on the BRICS trade agenda, above.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 128, December 2012
Volume 19, Issue 3 of SAIIA's peer-reviewed journal, the South African Journal of International Affairs, is now out, featuring articles from leading academics on a range of topics relevant to African interests.
27 November 2012: Turkey has bagged two credit-rating upgrades despite back-to-back world debt crises. After being upgraded to investment grade for the first time in two decades, the economy has made the transition from perennial underachiever to regional superstar. SAIIA Tom Wheeler, Former SA Ambassador to Turkey, was invited on CNBC Africa's Open Exchange show to look at this emerging market. [Duration: 7min 16sec] Watch the video  
(Portuguese) China’s rising position in African affairs, from that of quiescence to open activism at the centre stage of events, is changing the dynamics of the international system.  Since the onset of the domestic reform process starting in 1978, Maoist faith and revolutionary altruism have given way to the consciously self-interested commercial entrepreneurs and advocates of forms of market capitalism. The emergence of China as Africa’s top trading partner and leading source of foreign direct investment in 2009, surpassing the United States and key European Union states still struggling in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, has sharpened the…
During the World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum held in Geneva recently, the corridors and coffee shops were abuzz with speculation about the race for the position of Director General.  Pascal Lamy will end his second term in August 2013.  The official process to find a replacement will begin with nominations of candidates by member countries of the WTO in December 2012. Informal jockeying for position has already begun. 
South Africa's oft-repeated role as a “gateway” to African markets was given renewed impetus by President Jacob Zuma during last year's summit of Brics countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—in China. But so far, the gateway role of South Africa has not been analysed systematically.
A new book on China-Mozambique relations, A Mambo e o Dragao: Relacoes Mocambique-China em Perspectiva, has just been published SAIIA and the Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Económicos (IESE), exploring the relationship between the Mozambican ‘mamba’ and the Chinese ‘dragon’.
John Maynard Keynes’s ghost casts a shadow over the current financial crisis. His prescriptions for the Great Depression consisted essentially of sustained fiscal stimulus and protection from imports in order to retain that stimulus within the domestic market. They were badly suited to the economic crisis of the 1970s, which was characterised by inflation and stagnation with the former aggravated by Keynesian demand stimulus.
When you walk the streets of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, it feels like the city is one large building site. Anyone with some money to invest is clearly putting it into property in this growing urban centre. Construction can be a good sign in a developing country. Not only does it provide employment in the short term but infrastructure development supports the growth of other economic sectors in the long-run. While some may argue that property is a safe bet in an uncertain economy, the boom in construction in Ethiopia is mainly driven by infrastructure development objectives.
There have been mounting concern about the state of relations between superpowers China and Japan, particularly in light of the latest spat which centres around small islands off the coast of Japan. On 21 September 2012, Tom Wheeler, Research Associate with SAIIA, was invited to speak on Summit TV's News Leader programme about the situation and its broader implications, particularly the potential impact upon South African trade. [Duration: 8min 09sec] Watch the video
The Fifth European Union (EU)-South Africa summit (17-18 September) takes place against a backdrop of heightened domestic and international turbulence. In the EU’s backyard, escalating tensions in North Africa and the Middle East, from the impasse in Syria to the rising anger among Muslims about a film insulting the Prophet, play themselves out in a European economic malaise that still has to resolve itself. In South Africa, the Marikana mine massacre, the spread of unrest to other mines, and the demagoguery employed as a tool for political gain, have placed this country on a knife’s edge in the run-up to…
The European Union (EU) is South Africa’s main trading partner, its principal investor and largest development partner. In 2007 South Africa became one of only ten countries globally - and the only African country - to have formed a Strategic Partnership (SP) with the EU, of which the fifth Summit is due to take place on 18-19 September 2012 in Brussels.
The South African Institute of International Affairs, Western Cape Branch, invites you to a book launch to be addressed by author Dr Lyal White:  "Going Global - Insights from South Africa´s top companies".Venue:The Mountain Club of SA, 97 Hatfield Street, Gardens, Cape Town
‘Cui bono?’ or ‘Who benefits?’ is a question often asked by well-known political economist Susan Strange. This was also the guiding question of a recent SAIIA study on the tropical timber trade in Africa’s Great Lakes region. The report, entitled Timber Trade in Africa’s Great Lakes: The road from Beni, DRC to Kampala, Uganda focuses on international, regional and local demand-side drivers of tropical timber exports from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to and through Uganda.
The SADC summit in Maputo, Mozambique, this week will consider approving the regional infrastructure development master plan. It aims to deal with the region’s deficit in road, rail, ports, power, communication and water infrastructure. The deficit is estimated to be about $100-billion.
There has been an explosion of attention given to China's interests and activities in Africa and on the wide spectrum of Chinese actors involved in countries across the continent, but the terms and implications of the China-Angola partnership remain unclear.
13 August 2012: Diplomatic relations between SA and US have been under scrutiny during the visit of US secretary of State Hillary Clinton to South Africa. Joining Karima Brown in studio on CNBC Africa's Political Exchange show to unpack both trade and diplomatic issues underpinning South Africa's relationship with the US is Dr Scot Firsing from Monash University, who is also a SAIIA Bradlow Fellow, and Tom Wheeler, a Research Associate with SAIIA.
The theme of the African Union (AU) summit in January this year was “Boosting Intra-African Trade”. African heads of state and governments reaffirmed their commitment to the acceleration and deepening of Africa’s integration by approving an action plan and setting timelines.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 118, July 2012
07 August 2012: South Africa-US relations are under the spotlight as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits South Africa. Her visit is emblematic of her commitment to the US-South Africa Strategic Dialogue which was launched in April 2010. Dr. Scott Firsing, a Bradlow Fellow with SAIIA, reviews the history of trade and diplomatic relations between the two countries, and offers some insights for the future on an episode of CNBC Africa's Beyond Markets show.
The Secretary of State of the United States of America is expected to visit South Africa from 4 to 7 August 2012. Little has been said, officially, about her engagements during the visit, but many expect the visit to further the aims of the bilateral US-South Africa Strategic Dialogue, launched in April 2010.
Rapid economic growth in South Africa must be accompanied by policies to boost job creation and training opportunities, particularly among youths, according to a report launched today.
Wednesday, 25 July 2012

SADC Business Case Studies

A new set of case studies, looking at the barriers to doing businesss faced by firms in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, has just been released.
The South African Institute of International Affairs, Eastern Cape Branch, invites you to a public seminar to be addressed by Dr. Martin Zimmermann, President and CEO Mercedes-Benz South Africa, on "Smarter is better than Bigger: Economic Growth VS Sustainable Development."