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Economic Diplomacy

Economic diplomacy is concerned with setting the ‘rules of the game’ for the conduct of economic policy. Effective economic diplomacy requires understanding both the domestic political economy environment and the external negotiating environment, and the constraints of each.

Economic diplomacy matters to Southern Africa because the rules of the game shape domestic economic policy in important ways, and in an increasingly multi-polar world international economic negotiations are growing in importance across a number of fronts. These may shape domestic and regional economic policies in ways that could be inimical to pursuing sustainable outcomes. Therefore it is necessary to ensure regional interests are articulated and understood.

SAIIA’s primary purpose is to assist with the articulation of such interests by conducting high-level analytical work and making it publicly available in digestible forms to key Southern African actors and their international counterparts.

Contact the programme on edip[@]saiia.org.za.

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in collaboration with the African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) held a workshop on 'Migration across borders: from global to local experiences and perspectives'.
SAIIA Policy Insights No 54, April 2018
When US President Donald Trump announced that he would ask Congress to impose a 25% tariff on more than 1,300 Chinese imports amounting to an export value of US$50 billion, the world held its breath for signs of a full-blown trade war between the world’s largest economies.
Position: Researcher Programme: Economic Diplomacy
Our Economic Diplomacy researcher Cyril Prinsloo speaks to Angelo Coppola from China Global Television Network about the New Development Bank and its potential to advance infrastructure development in South Africa and the rest of the continent.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently completed his first official tour of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region since becoming South Africa’s fifth president, visiting Angola, Botswana and Namibia.
It’s a familiar sight at border posts: women with baskets groaning under the weight of fresh produce, cheap manufactured goods or handicrafts ready to be traded on the other side.
Against a backdrop of rising nationalist protectionism in some parts of the world, we recently hosted a workshop to unpack regional integration and trade facilitation issues in Africa through a gender sensitive lens. The event was also an opportunity to share practical solutions to boosting inclusive trade and development.
In 2017, more than one hundred countries began discussions on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees. Both seek to arrive at agreed-upon principles and commitments among UN states on issues facing migrants and refugees with the goal of creating a framework for international cooperation. A 2018 report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that there are currently 244 million international migrants, or 3.3 percent of the global population. Meanwhile, the twenty-first century has witnessed a dramatic increase in refugees, to 22.5 million globally, and internally displaced people, to 40.3…
Position: SAIIA-KAS Visiting Scholar
Position: SAIIA-KAS Visiting Scholar 
The South African Institute of International Affairs in collaboration with the Embassies of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa cordially invite you to a Panel Discussion on 'The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Project, the Belt and Road Initiative and Africa'.
With a population projected to double by 2050, Africa is becoming increasingly young. In 2015, 19% of the global population under 25 (226 million) lived in Africa, and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) expects this figure to increase to 42% by 2030.
Youth and migration will be central to discussions between African and European heads of state at the upcoming AU-EU Summit from 28 to 29 November in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), in collaboration with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) will host a roundtable discussion on 'Investment in Africa: Infrastructure and Regional Value Chains'.
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), in collaboration with the Institute for International Trade, Australia cordially invites you to a one-day workshop on 'The Challenges of Regional Integration, Trade Facilitation and Gender Equity for Africa'. 
Global and regional value chain theory and analysis has mushroomed in recent years. Theorists point out that over the past decades world trade has increasingly been characterised by the fracturing of manufacturing and production processes, with different goods and services produced in different geographical locations, ultimately forming part of a single commodity. Specialisation in certain component parts of the whole has become more important than being able to produce and entire product. Lead firms manage to source inputs from across the globe.
As South Africa’s Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba prepares for his inaugural Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on 25 October, one issue will weigh heavily on his mind: how to increase government expenditure to further stimulate growth at a time when the government’s fiscal environment remains heavily constrained.
Head: Economic Diplomacy Programme
Wednesday, 13 September 2017

AGOA: It’s time to move on

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been the cornerstone of US-Africa trade relations since its inception in 2000. AGOA, which provides sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the US market for more than 6,000 product lines, has benefited parties on both side of the Atlantic. But recent developments suggest that AGOA may no longer be best suited to promote economic relations. The US and African countries should now devise an alternative arrangement for when the Act expires in 2025.
Has China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) usurped Brics as China’s flagship forum? And if so, what does this mean for future Brics co-operation? These are key questions leaders Michel Temer (Brazil), Vladimir Putin (Russia), Narendra Modi (India) and Jacob Zuma have had to consider at the meeting with their heads-of-state counterpart, China’s Xi Jinping, at the group’s annual summit in Xiamen, China.
Global headlines in the run-up to the 9th BRICS summit were dominated by the North Korean missile crisis and the stand-off in Doklam, high in the Himalayas, in Bhutan. The former had a direct bearing on the interests of Russia and China, as they share a border with North Korea, but positioned them on the same side in calling for a de-escalation in tensions between the US and North Korea. In the case of the latter though, it pitted two BRICS members, India and China, against each other.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 265, September 2017
SAIIA invites members of the media to our special briefing on the 9th BRICS Summit.
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