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Foreign Policy

SAIIA’s Foreign Policy research covers three pillars: South African foreign policy; the foreign policy engagement of key African driver countries in their region, with a specific focus on supporting regional peace and security; and the engagement of key global (including emerging) players in Africa, with the view to supporting African development, peace and stability at a national, regional and continental level.

The programme seeks to produce a body of work that assists policymakers, the business community and civil society working on South African and African foreign policy concerns.

Most states prioritise relations with their nearest neighbours. After all, those on one’s doorstep represent the closest opportunities for trade, travel and political ties. These countries will often share geographical, cultural and ethnic connections, and have had similar historical journeys.
In June, South Africa’s public protector announced there would be a new investigation into the #GuptaLeaks allegations of corruption at the highest levels of government. It’s a symptom of South Africa’s broader problems.
Thursday, 06 July 2017

G20 commitment to Africa

This year Germany has made Africa the focus of its G20 presidency through its Compact with Africa and the Marshall Plan for the continent, which together aim to create a more sustainable environment for private sector participation in African economies.
The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) are delighted to invite you to a Book launch on South African Foreign Policy: Identities, Intentions, and Directions with the support of the University of the Witwatersrand’s Department of Political Science and the University of Pretoria’s Department of Political Sciences.
On 30 June South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, kicked off its week-long policy conference in Johannesburg. Party cadres will meet under the (now ironic) call “The year of Oliver Reginald Tambo: Let us deepen unity!” in memory of one of the ANC’s most formidable and respected leaders.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 261, June 2017
Meeting his counterparts in Europe on his first overseas trip in May, President Donald Trump failed to reassure them that the military alliance, which has been the backbone of the Atlantic relationship since the end of the Cold War, will receive the same degree of commitment from the US as in the past.
In 1979 Iran underwent an Islamic Revolution, surprising ‘experts’ around the world and transforming its country from a United States-supported monarchy to an Islamic Republic. The ideology of the revolution was rooted in teachings spread by Ayatollah Khomeini. His firm belief in the need for jurists who were experts in Islamic law and could act as guardians of the people came to shape not only the revolution but the new constitution, system of government, and the electoral system.
Position: SAIIA Visiting Scholar Programme: Governance and APRM and Foreign Policy Programme
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.'
SAIIA Policy Insights No 45, May 2017
On 24 March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its first order awarding financial compensation – on an individual basis – to the victims of the Bogoro village attack in 2003 in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The court sentenced Former Congolese warlord Germain Katanga in March 2014 to 12 years in prison (later reduced to eight years), on four counts of war crimes and one count of crimes against humanity for these atrocities. Breaking new ground, a symbolic compensation of $250 has been awarded to each of the 297 identified victims of those…
On 29 April, President Donald J Trump reached 100 days in office as president of the United States. A controversial head of state, whose election campaign and subsequent ascension to power was met with widespread criticism and resistance, particularly from large US cities, the dust certainly has not settled by now for his administration. Instead of assuaging fears and infusing greater certainty into global affairs, the announcement that his budget intends to cut $1 billion dollars in foreign aid and diplomacy to fund various ‘America First’ projects has the rest of the world concerned about the fate of peace, security…
In a midnight press-release, President Zuma announced the results of his latest cabinet reshuffle, that predictably included the sacking of the country’s revered Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.
Are Southern providers more effective in facilitating peace processes, political settlements and building institutions in fragile states than traditional Western donors are? Is South-South peace-building different in approach, form and outcome than interventions by Western powers in conflict-affected areas?
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.
Before fleeing over the weekend, President Yahya Jammeh plunged his country into a political crisis whose outcome will resonate far beyond Gambia’s borders. Having conceded victory to opposition candidate Adama Barrow after the 1 December election, Jammeh reversed himself a week later.
South Africa has variously styled itself as a ‘bridge’ between the North, the global South and Africa as well as a ‘gateway’ into the continent. It also sees itself as a spokesperson for Africa, given its membership of the alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa BRICS and the G20.
Just at the time that the world signed a landmark development compact – the 2030 Agenda – and climate change agreement, the slogan ‘Take our country back’ or ‘Make America great again’ became the clarion anti-establishment call in parts of Europe and the US. The liberal international order, especially of the last 25 years, is considered by many analysts to be under threat and Germany is regarded by some as a bastion against its decline.
Just ten days into his tenure as United Nations’ Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres chose his first formal address to the UN to be about the importance of conflict prevention and sustaining peace. At a UN debate sponsored by the government of Sweden on 10 January, the new SG said, ‘Prevention is not just a priority, but the priority.’
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 248, December 2016
Last year the world embarked on a new set of Sustainable Development Goals that should guide international development efforts until 2030. In tandem, the OECD club of donors have been developing a new statistic to measure their contribution towards these goals.
SAIIA Policy Insights No 39, December 2016
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 247, December 2016
Monday, 12 December 2016

Shifting paradigms of aid

On 12 December, SAIIA and the Centre on International Cooperation (CIC) organised a one-day workshop at the Baha’i International Community’s United Nations Office in New York. The workshop looked at the role of emerging actors in conflict-affected countries.
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