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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.

From 29 November to 1 December 2016, experts from Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, and Zimbabwe will gather again in Nairobi at the second High Level Meeting (HLM2) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC). There, they will share with the broader international development community the work produced on south-south co-operation and provide Southern perspectives on the current global debates. NeST Africa, in collaboration with its various global partners, is hosting a series of side-events, workshops, amphitheatre and break-out sessions on various topics related to South-South co-operation and its role in the international…
The 2016 elections of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were scheduled for mid-September this year, and then postponed to 27 November. But the country is still nowhere near being ready to conduct a legitimate vote, and tensions there are reaching critical levels. What should South Africa be doing to help? 'Help'. That was the one-word message I received from my contact in the DRC. It was enough to tell me everything I needed to know.
SAIIA Research Report No 24, November 2016 Download - English Foreign Policy Programme As the global development landscape continues to evolve, new and emerging actors – countries transitioning from being aid recipients to aid providers – are becoming increasingly visible on the global scene. Although the approaches, interests and resources of emerging donors are far from uniform, their increasing presence in global development – particularly in fragile and conflict-affected settings – could create new ways of thinking about foreign aid and contribute to more horizontal, equitable and efficient practices. The rise of these donors also poses challenges: their compliance with…
Tanzania’s current legal framework has failed to address women’s rights and gender equality due to the prolonged and continued existence of forced child marriages, killings of elderly women, female genital mutilation and limited access to reproductive health services. Is the proposed new constitution likely to do a better job at protecting and promoting women’s rights in Tanzania?
The historic and shocking victory of Donald J Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America was announced on 10 November 2016. Flummoxed by what is now being dubbed ‘the biggest political upset in modern history’, global markets shuddered, commentators reeled; and we all stood momentarily, mouths agape, letting the news set in.
Eight years ago the American people voted for “Yes, we can”, Barack Obama’s politics of hope. Eight years ago many across the world were celebrating the election of the first African-American president and the new politics that it might bring. But over the last eight years we have seen a rise in political extremes both in the US and across Europe.
At long last, the most bruising and sometimes farcical election in recent US history has come to a close. What seemed unthinkable to many just a year ago has happened and Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. While markets have slumped in response, one thing is certain: nearly half of the US population is now faced with a president that they resolutely view as unfit to lead.
South Africans woke up on the morning of 21 October 2016 to the shocking announcement that the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana Mashabane, had submitted an instrument of withdrawal from the Rome Statute to the UN Secretary General in New York, two days before. This notification signals South Africa’s intention to withdraw from the Statute that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a year’s time.
South Africa has contributed billions of Rands in developmental assistance to the DRC. Yet according to traditional definitions of aid, these contributions do not count. In a new article published by the Mail and Guardian, SAIIA's Carmel Rawhani investigates the controversies around defining aid and why South Africa's contributions may actually surpass those of more wealthy ‘Western’ donors.
SAIIA Policy Insights No 35, September 2016
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.
Oxfam Mexico, South Africa and China, in collaboration with the Network of Southern Think Tanks (NeST), and Instituto Mora have the pleasure to invite you to the NeST technical workshop for ‘Updating the monitoring and evaluation framework for South-South Cooperation“.
Tuesday, 30 August 2016

South Africa and the DRC

The South African Institute of International Affairs' (Saiia's) Senior Researcher Neissan Besharati speaks to Polity's Sashnee Moodley about our latest research: South Africa and the DRC – Evaluating a South-South partnership for peace, governance and development. Click here to read the related report Watch the video by clicking on the image above, or click here to view on the PolitySA YouTube Channel.
When the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) was launched in 1993 by Japan in co-operation with the World Bank, the UN, and the UN Development Programme, it was the first such initiative of one country seeking to deepen its partnership with Africa. From 27-28 August, TICAD will be held for the first time in an African country. This milestone reflects the evolving nature of relations between Japan and the continent, and the more assertive and confident agency of African countries in their interactions with external powers.
On 25 October 2015, Tanzanians elected John Pombe Magufuli as their president – nicknamed "The Bulldozer" for his self-assertive, brash leadership style, and his ability to push through his agenda. His policies have a strong internal focus, including minimising his foreign travel to save costs and asking government officials to do the same. His skipping of summits, has however raised questions about Tanzania possibly missing out on important international opportunities. Ahead of a visit to Rwanda, President Magufuli said, “I don’t like travelling abroad because I am fond of saving and you can't keep pace with other nations in equal…
The already-anxious, West-aligned states bordering Russia are receiving alarmingly mixed messages from their NATO allies. At its summit in Warsaw in July, NATO agreed to deploy a battalion of troops to each of the three Baltic states and Poland to protect them against possible Russian attack.
The Zimbabwean state has provided some of the biggest lessons in humility for political analysts in this century. Its government, headed by the indomitable Robert Mugabe, has failed to ‘definitively fail’ despite every warning since ZANU-PF war veterans began the land invasions that prompted the first wave of crisis in that country in 2001.
SAIIA Policy Briefing 150, July 2016
The 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) ran from 10 - 18 July 2016, under the theme ‘A Year of Human Rights, with Special Focus on the Rights of Women’. Towards the end of the week, heads of state sought to elect the new AU Commission chairperson. However, the summit closed without appointing a new head for the organisation. SAIIA researcher Aditi Lalbahadur spoke to CCTV about this inability to agree on a new chairperson and what it signifies for the continental body.
On 19 July 2016, the Network of Southern Think Tanks (NeST) in collaboration with the German Development Institute (DIE) Managing Global Governance (MGG) Programme held an UNCTAD XIV side event on 'Measuring and reporting South-South cooperation (SSC): How to grasp SSC’s contribution to achieving the SDGs'.
The 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) opened on Sunday in Kigali, Rwanda. This year’s summit runs throughout this week and takes place under the theme, ‘A Year of Human Rights, with Special Focus on the Rights of Women’.  When the AU was established in 2002, it created numerous opportunities for an ambitious democracy and human rights agenda in the foreign and continental policies of African states.
SAIIA Policy Insights No 32, June 2016 
In the latest SAIIA event exclusively for our diplomatic and corporate members, we were pleased to host an Executive Briefing on 'The Africa we want: Unpacking the primacy of Africa in South Africa’s Foreign Policy'.
The importance of international relations to a country’s well-being is not always apparent to the ordinary person in the street. Often regarded as an unnecessary expense when a country such as South Africa faces significant economic and social challenges, ministries of foreign affairs easily fall prey to the fiscal austerity knife.
Discussions about the Global Commons often veer towards a consideration of great power engagement and commercial activities in the Arctic Circle – made possible by the effects of climate change. However, these developments are equally pertinent for the Antarctic Circle, the subject of a new SAIIA research report.
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