Select a language for instant Google Translation

Filter these publications by ...

Topics

Regions

Countries

Programmes

Opinion & Analysis (1011)

The African Union 23rd summit is convening in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on 20 June 2014. It will reach its zenith with the Ordinary session of the Assembly on 26-27 June. Irrespective of the agenda, which is not yet publicly communicated, or the summit theme 'Agriculture and Food Security in Africa', the final decisions and declaration document on 27 June is expected to be a congested one.
Are South Africa’s foreign policymakers appropriately geared during the second term of the Zuma Administration to manage the expectations of its region effectively? More importantly, can South Africa integrate its economic goals successfully with its regional priorities?  
The newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr. Senzeni Zokwana, inherits a complex and divisive set of governance challenges within South Africa’s fisheries sector. Recent developments, however, suggest that his tenure may present an important opportunity to effect meaningful change and set South African fisheries on a more sustainable and prosperous path.
The world trading system is at a critical juncture. This particularly concerns the drawn out Doha Round which, until the WTO's Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013, had been at an impasse since 2008.
Since China hosted the 2008 Beijing Olympics there has been a marked increase in the active bidding and subsequent hosting of global mega-events by countries considered ‘rising’ in international affairs. In 2010 the Commonwealth Games was hosted in India, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the World Expo in China. Fast forward to 2014 and Russia held the Sochi Winter Olympics, while Brazil is set to host the upcomming 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Despite the shadow cast by the charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court, Kenya has been quietly going about compiling its second Country Self-Assessment Report (CSAR) under the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). As an APRM member, Kenya is expected to submit itself to the continent’s voluntary home-grown tool that assesses the state of governance in participating countries. The APRM proposes corrective measures to address governance gaps that emerge during the review.
Brazil 'is the country of the future and always will be'. Attributed to Stefan Zweig, an Austrian novelist who emigrated to Brazil in 1941, this quote could be adapted to Nigeria, which recently hosted the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Africa Summit in Abuja.
If the European Union (EU) and the 'Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) can provide strong leadership in at least four key areas, EU companies can become better placed than their global peers to meet the stricter operation standards and developmental impact being demanded by communities and governments in Africa.
2014 marks two decades since the end of apartheid and the establishment of a constitutional democracy in South Africa. The manner of the country’s transformation to democracy imbued it with soft power of legitimacy and credibility that provided it with unique leverage in global affairs. Coupled with its willingness to become an active global citizen, South Africa has used this soft power in its foreign policy.
With a persistently high unemployment rate, building an economy that provides opportunities for all is extremely important to all the political parties contesting the 2014 South African general election.
The 20th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide this year offers an apt opportunity to reflect on how far Africa has come in preventing a reoccurrence of such a tragedy.
On Sunday 6 April 2014 on the way to the SAIIA offices in Braamfontein I passed many Nigerian churches, which are now permanent features of inner-city Johannesburg. Sermons were already underway and sounded celebratory. I wondered if they were celebrating the announcement of Nigeria being named the continent’s largest economy, usurping South Africa.
An internal Ukrainian crisis dating back to November 2013 took on an external dimension last month. Just as Ukrainians were starting to rebuild their country after months of protests and a change of leadership, Russia’s intervention in Crimea has shifted the focus, and set off alarm bells throughout Europe.
Bulgaria is still the poorest European Union country, but its fortunes have improved exponentially since it joined the EU. This makes the recent events in the Crimean Peninsula unfortunate. By leaving Ukraine, Crimea has missed a window of opportunity to benefit from Ukraine’s closer association with the EU.
Representatives of 54 African and 28 European States, including over 30 heads of state, will meet in Brussels on 2 and 3 April for the fourth EU-Africa Summit. The meeting has a broad-ranging agenda under the title “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”.
South Africa’s approach to regulating the protection of foreign investments and investors has become controversial. It has centered on the future of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), pitting the European Union (EU) against the South African government. The debate was precipitated by the SA government’s decision to terminate or not renew BITs. Now it is refocusing on the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill, released on 1 November 2013. A three-month window for public comments on the bill has recently closed.
The people of the Crimean peninsula in the Ukraine voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation on 16 March 2014. The following day the Crimea declared its independence from the Ukraine as the Republic of Crimea and the Autonomous City of Sevastopol. And on 18 March 2014 the territories formally joined the Russian Federation through a treaty of accession.
2013 was a difficult year for the five BRICS countries. China and Brazil faced slowing growth, South Africa and India were hit by currency instability, and concern over Russia’s governance deepened (before recent events in the Ukraine pitched them into all-out crisis). As doubts have mounted, investors have increasingly turned back to traditional investment destinations like the United States and Europe, as well as to new formations like the MINTs (Mexico, India, Nigeria and Turkey).
In 2012 Walmart announced the acquisition of a majority stake in South African retail chain Massmart. The deal, valued at USD$2.4 billion, was one of the largest single inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) into South Africa, and signified that the formerly isolated country at the tip of the African continent had transformed into a gateway to the emerging ‘new growth market’ in Africa. But the Walmart deal met with mounting resistance.
Prior to the 24th ordinary session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU), foreign ministers of the AU member states met from 24 to 26 January 2014 for their ministerial retreat in Bahir Dar (a city in Amhara state) located on the southern shores of Lake Tana which is the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile.
The usual flurry of analyses has followed President Jacob Zuma’s annual state of the nation address. From a resource governance perspective, there are three things worth examining in further detail given the president’s off the cuff remarks during his address - to both the management of mines and the unions - that actions that damage the economy would not be tolerated.  
Recent years have witnessed the multiplication of energy-related events, policies and initiatives in South Africa. On the eve of the 6th Africa Energy Indaba (AEI) which takes place in Sandton, Johannesburg from 18 to 20 February 2014, this self-proclaimed ‘highest profile energy event’ on the continent seeks to bring together global and national energy stakeholders, government officials and business delegations to debate critical emerging issues for the sector.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a voluntary African governance promotion tool, now boasts an unprecedented 34 member states, 17 of which have completed their first reviews. But a lack of political enthusiasm for it – especially by heads of state – is endangering its relevance and impact on governance.
The increasingly adversarial nature of labour relations is having a dampening effect on South Africa’s mining investment prospects. On the eve of the 2014 African Mining Indaba (3 to 6 February 2014), observers worried about the persistent labour crisis and its likely long-term effect on investor sentiment should pay attention to three key pressure points. In conjunction, they will determine the future viability of South Africa’s mining industry.
South Africans appear to have become accustomed to perpetual strike action, especially in the mining industry. It is an unhealthy sign of succumbing to the status quo, having relinquished faith that a solution is in fact possible.
How effective are the BRICS in inspiring confidence in their public diplomacy? This question lies at the heart of their soft power.
On New Year’s Eve 2014 over 100,000 Ukrainians attempted to set the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people simultaneously singing their national anthem. While such activities normally symbolise national unity, Ukraine remains as divided as ever. The former Soviet republic, independent since 1991 and with a population of 46 million, is faced with a choice of aligning itself closer to the European Union (EU) or Russia. The country’s unique geo-political location between the two actors makes it a highly desirable of area of influence for both.
Somalia-based piracy attacks have decreased significantly in the course of 2013. As international efforts to combat Somali-based piracy begin to deliver results, however, there is growing concern over the marked increase in piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly targeted at the region’s oil and gas sector.
Go to any conference in the world and say ‘Doha Development Agenda’, and the room is likely to empty. But not in China. Recently I was impressed with the degree of interest amongst China’s trade policy elite in the future of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the global trading system of which it is a part.
Tata left us on 5 December 2013, a few months before we celebrate 20 years of South Africa's democracy, and hold our fifth democratic elections. Since then my memories of a February, 24 years ago, in 1990 have flooded back to me.