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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.

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.
From 29 November to 1 December 2016, experts from Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, and Zimbabwe gathered in Nairobi at the second High Level Meeting (HLM2) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC). There, they shared with the broader international development community the work produced on south-south co-operation and provide Southern perspectives on the current global debates. At this meeting, NeST Africa and its various global partners hosted 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 development landscape.
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.
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