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Opinion & Analysis (1046)

How are states employing cultural diplomacy in an increasingly interconnected world in shaping understanding between societies while promoting preferential co-operation between nations? Observers of China-South Africa relations will have noticed the increasing reference to the ‘China Year in South Africa’ by officials on both sides.
History is likely to regard Nigeria's just-concluded election as the defining one that finally put the country on an irreversible course of democratic maturation.
At the recent University of the Witwatersrand’s Mandela Institute Conference on the Private Security Industry Regulatory Act Amendment Bill, commonly known as the Security Bill, National Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa provided the keynote address. From the various presentations at the Conference, held on 19 March 2015, it became apparent that there is a disconnect between South Africa’s national security imperatives and its trade and investment policy.
The South African government wishes to take a more interventionist approach towards inward foreign investment. Its view is that the current system is biased towards big multinationals and it wants more room to pursue the country’s social and economic goals.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and officially its largest economy as of April 2014, is holding presidential and legislative elections on 28 March 2015, which bear in equal measure the hallmarks of continuity and potential ruptures.
The 22nd of March every year marks international Water Day. As the world celebrates its most important life-giving natural resource, it is important to take stock of Africa's water challenges and opportunities. Water is the pre-condition for life and the sustainable management of water is fundamental to achieving Africa's development goals.
The Sharpeville Massacre is deeply engrained in the pages of South African history. The events of 21 March 1960 are now commemorated on Human Rights Day.
After a ‘gloom and doom’ Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement in October last year, it was hoped that Finance Minister Nene’s recent Budget Speech would allay concerns that South Africa’s public finances are in dire straits.
Policymakers in Pretoria, Nairobi and Maseru are holding their breath as the latest renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) makes its way through the partisan gridlock of the US congress. AGOA offers duty free access to the richest market on the planet on 1800 tariff lines, generates over 62,000 jobs in South Africa alone, and sustains apparel industries in countries such as Lesotho and Mauritius.
Recent events confirm that South Africa’s perceived receptiveness towards foreign direct investment (FDI) is declining. Consequently some foreigners are disillusioned, and look to better growth prospects elsewhere in Africa.
The leaders of the African continent declared their resolve to follow through on their 'Agenda 2063' vision at the 24th African Union (AU) Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last month.
The African Union’s emerging 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063, aims to cap a century of the organisation’s work with a thoroughly transformed continent. A central theme is the integration of the AU’s 54 member states, opening up borders, merging markets and speaking with a common voice in global fora.
Since President Mbeki's administration gave way to President Jacob Zuma's one, South Africa has taken a back seat on international issues. This does not bode well for a country like South Africa with so much political capital accrued over the past two and half decades.
Africa’s Environment Day is celebrated on the 3rd of March each year. It is an important event which contributes to raising awareness of pressing environmental challenges for Africa. It also highlights the importance of environmental sustainability in achieving the continents development goals, and the centrality of the continent in these discussions.
Putting aside all the controversies surrounding President Jacob Zuma’s delivery of the 2015 State of the Nation address, the speech is worth analysing.
On 26 January 2015, President Jacob Zuma provided reasons for referring the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill (MPRD-AB 2014) back to Parliament. The Bill had been shepherded through parliament shortly before the 2014 national elections, and has been on the President's desk since then.
Africa may be rising, but its success is primarily measured by economic growth and development, while discourse on democratisation is far less prominent than at the onset of the new millennium. At the same time, many African states are forging ever-deeper ties with emerging powers that seem to place little value on democracy and human rights.
Saturday, 24 January 2015

Factsheet: China-Africa Relations

China-Africa ties have expanded beyond trade and investment in extractive industries to engagement in telecommunications, infrastructure, manufacturing, finance, media, agriculture and peace and security issues.
Global experience in the last century demonstrated that it is possible for societies to move rapidly from poverty to prosperity. The past decade has seen growing hope that Africa may be on the cusp of emulating these experiences.
It is hoped that African countries will soon be signing a new free trade agreement that will take the continent one step closer to its goal of economic development.
In recent years there has been growing global awareness of the interplay between rights and the development process and a generalised recognition of social determinants of health as a point of entry to re-connect poverty, equality and health.
Q&A with Dr. Zhang Chun of the Shanghai Institute of International Studies and Dr. Abiodun Alao of King’s College London.The scholarly and policy focus on China in Africa is beginning to move beyond the examination of the macro-trends to a more nuanced emphasis on sectoral and bilateral country studies.
Due to the increasing threat of climate change, the key role that energy plays in the interactions between societies and resources towards a sustainable development has gained broad attention. As renewable energy sources (RES) become more competitive in relation to other energy sources, they create another opportunity to attract additional investments in favour of a greener economy.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) can learn from the difficulties faced by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in curtailing the spread of Ebola. The Ebola epidemic has highlighted the need for regional access to medicines in West Africa.
Followers of the discourse around international development will be aware of the important debates that took place at the UN General Assembly during September 2014. The ambitious theme of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, 'Delivering on and implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda,' has set the scene for the negotiations to be pursued in the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals and other expert committees and related dialogues and working groups on the post-2015 development agenda.
Group of 20 (G-20) Summits are a magnet for expectations. Ever since the grouping was formed in the turbulent early days of the 2008 global financial crisis major stakeholders have pinned many hopes on the ability of the group to steer the globe back to growth.
Sociologist Robert K Merton’s ‘Law of Unintended Consequences’ is the observable phenomenon of purposeful actions having unexpected results, most often negative ones. Mozambique’s 2014 elections have been characterised by continuing tensions between the Government of Mozambique and the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO) opposition political party, which the latter has sought to escalate in the post-election period, and ahead of the final results.[i]
The announcement of a joint agreement between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Hebei Iron and Steel Group to open a steel mill in Phalaborwa could signal a new stage in the longstanding relationship between South Africa and China. Financed in part by the China Africa Development Fund, the deal reportedly involves the Chinese company taking a 51% share in the joint venture and building a processing plant that will go beyond the mere extraction of resources for export and generate local employment.
Does being an active member of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the instrument adopted by the African Union to improve the quality of governance across the continent, help a country improve its rankings in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG)?
The 2014 Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, to be held on Friday 17 October, focuses on the theme: Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty. It is widely acknowledged that, without collective action from the Global North and South, poverty reduction measures will not work effectively and the gap between rich and poor will continue to widen.