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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.
Free-to-view access through October 2017 is available for Vol 24.2 of the South African Journal of International Affairs, a special issue focused on ‘Reviewing the first decade of the EU-South Africa Strategic Partnership’, produced with guest editors Lesley Masters and Lara Hierro of the University of Johannesburg.
As the 37th SADC Summit kicks off, the longstanding question of how to best spur industrial growth and development in the region is at the top of policymakers’ agendas. Greater integration of countries into global and regional value chains is a key focus area given the summit’s theme: Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and value chains.
South Africa has made strides over the last 20 years to promote economic growth and address unemployment, inequality and poverty. Facilitating greater trade, investment and industrialisation is a key part of this strategy.
Friday, 23 June 2017

Brave new world

We are a far cry from the 1800s and the so-called glory days of the British Empire, but sentimentality over ‘making Britain great again’ fuelled the British vote to exit the European Union (EU).
The Kingdom of Lesotho is a country of extremes: breath-taking beauty and widespread poverty. It’s classified by the UN as one of the least developed countries in the world.
Industrialisation is a key driver of sustainable development. It creates jobs, adds value and promotes trade through greater integration into global value chains. At the same time, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are critical to every economy by creating jobs and innovative goods, promoting a competitive environment and economic growth, and facilitating income distribution. The South African government recognises the need for entrepreneurship and SMEs’ engagement with industrialisation efforts to address some of the key socio-economic challenges in the country, particularly poverty, inequality and unemployment. However, South African entrepreneurs still face a number of constraints that hinder greater…
Earlier this year, president Xi Jinping strode the world stage at Davos with his statement that 'We should commit ourselves to growing an open global economy… Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room.'
The latest issue of the South African Journal of International Affairs Vol 23.4 is now available online.

SAIIA Policy Insights No 41, March 2017

On 23 June 2016, voters in the United Kingdom decided that their country should leave the European Union (EU). Politics has moved quickly since that day. The UK has a new government, and a new Prime Minister, Theresa May. And preparations are underway for a negotiation which will see the UK exiting the EU.
If the first two months are anything to go by, 2017 will be an unusual year for Africa as two of its largest trading partners – China and America – are undergoing major political and economic transitions.
After his inauguration on Friday, Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. His decidedly short inauguration speech evoked his central narrative of populism and domestic focus, with very little foray into policy detail.
The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be visiting five African countries this month namely Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Republic of Congo and Nigeria. This would mark the Foreign Minister's first overseas destination.
China has published a notice that the processing and sale of ivory and ivory products 'will be stopped by December 31, 2017.' Following a decision taken at the latest Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference to end all domestic trade in ivory, China has duly made a credible commitment to this end.
Sponsored by the Australian Government, SAIIA and the Institute for International Trade Australia hosted a one-day workshop on Harnessing Gender for Inclusive Trade Workshop.
The unexpected presidential win by Donald Trump has sent shock waves across the globe, largely because during his presidential campaign a series of highly controversial statements were made by the Republican candidate on women, the fight against terrorism, migration and global warming.
In the run-up to this year’s presidential elections in the US, SAIIA’s experts will be providing weekly updates on the key developments, with a view to how the issues at stake might affect South Africa and Africa.
The Public Forum is an annual three-day event organised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to facilitate discussions and debates from global actors on issues facing trade and development. This year's event, held from 27 to 29 September 2016, focused on 'Inclusive Trade' as a way to harness trade for the economic empowerment of the most marginalised members of society, and finding innovative ways to make trading conditions easier for them.
This week the United States (US) hosted African nations for the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum under the theme: ‘Maximising AGOA now while preparing for the future beyond AGOA'. AGOA, a unilateral development programme offering African countries duty free access for select exports to the US, is set to expire in 2025.
The TRADE research entity at the North-West University and SAIIA jointly held a workshop on 'Navigating Global Economic Headwinds and Tailwinds: New Directions for Industrial and Trade Policy'.
SAIIA and the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa held a panel discussion on 'Reflections on how to create a transparent and sustainable location for doing business in the commodities sector: the Swiss case.' This discussion was led by H.E. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international regulatory treaty between 182 member states. It was formed in 1973 and regulates the international trade in over 35,000 wild species of plants and animals.
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