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Conference: Africa and the G20: A Critical Assessment

  • Location: Velmore Hotel, Centurion, South Africa

For all the materials and outcomes of this conference, click here to visit the new article.

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria (UP), through their joint GEGAfrica project, cordially invites members of the press to join us for the First Annual African G20 Conference.

“Africa and the G20: A Critical Assessment”

Date: Monday 10 December, 2012
Time: 08h30 – 17h00
Venue: Velmore Hotel, Centurion
RSVP:   Riona Judge McCormack at or 011 339 2021/ 071 7643 690


South Africa is the only African member of the G20, the leading forum for international economic co-operation. As the sole African voice, South Africa has the opportunity to promote both regional African and national South African interests when economic rules are debated and set.

The conference will look at some of the policy issues that the G20 deals with, how these intersect with Africa’s interests and how the G20 in turn can support Africa. New research presented at the conference will evaluate how effectively Africa's interests and concerns are directly and indirectly addressed in the G20 processes, particularly in relation to food security and financial reform.

Speakers include representatives from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the African Development Bank.

Given that Russia has the presidency of the G20 next year, delegates will also hear from a representative of the Russian Embassy.

Below you will find the programme, and some further background on the G20.


08h30-09h00    Registration

09h00-10h00    G20 and Africa so far: What can we expect from the Russian Presidency?
Speakers: National Treasury representative, Russian Embassy representative, Mills Soko (University of Cape Town)

10h00-11h00    G20 and Africa’s Development: Perspectives on the Development Working Group
Speakers: Garth Shelton (Wits University), Danny Bradlow (University of Pretoria), Mzukisi Qobo (University of Pretoria), Emmanuel Nnadozie (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa)

11h00-11h15    Tea

11h15-12h45    Africa and the G20: General Assessment
Speakers:     Danny Bradlow (University of Pretoria), Mzukisi Qobo (University of Pretoria), Emmanuel Nnadozie (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), Garth Shelton (Wits University)

12h45-13h45      Lunch

13h45-15h15    Panel 3: G20 Finance Agenda and Africa
Speakers: Jason Milton (South African Reserve Bank), Peter Wolff (German Development Institute), Axel Schimmelpfenni (International Monetary Fund), Johannes Chirwa (African Development Bank)

15h15-15h30        Tea break

15h30-16h55    Food Security, G20 and Africa
Hilton Zunckel (HiltonLambert Inc), Cerkia Bramley (University of Pretoria), Gibson Guvheya (African Capacity Building Foundation), Steve Mohlabi (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries), Bibi Giyose (Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Programme, NEPAD)

16h55-17h00        Concluding Remarks


The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (also known as the G-20, G20, and Group of Twenty) is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies: 19 countries plus the European Union. Collectively, the G-20 economies account for more than 80 percent of the gross world product (GWP), 80 percent of world trade (including EU intra-trade), and two-thirds of the world population.

Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Daniel Mminele, in his keynote address to SAIIA 31 October 2012 explained South Africa’s role in the G20:
“South Africa’s membership of the G-20 provides enormous opportunities. As a small and open economy, South Africa has an interest in seeing the G-20 Agenda succeed because of our level of interconnectedness within the global economy. As the only African country represented in the G-20, this membership provides South Africa with the space to influence key international policies that could have an impact on our own economy, the region and the continent as a whole.
As the sole African representative at the table, South Africa also endeavours to highlight regional and continental issues, albeit without any formal mandate. Our network of contacts from our interactions in various G-20 formations provides great opportunities to leverage these to advance various other objectives and to enhance South Africa’s international profile and reputation.
Read the rest of his speech here:

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, speaking at a G20 ministerial meeting in Mexico on 20 February 2012, reiterated South Africa's call for developing countries, particularly those in Africa, to be given a voice in major global institutions. Nkoana-Mashabane said the G20 could play an important leadership role, based on the values and principles that underpin the United Nations Charter, to address the world's many needs and challenges. She said South Africa was committed to working with the G20 and like-minded countries to make a real difference in helping to unblock stalled negotiations, where appropriate, to facilitate the implementation of agreements already reached, and in reforming the multilateral institutions that make up the global system of governance. Read more here:

This conference is being organised as part of SAIIA’s and UP’s Africa Global Economic Governance Project which seeks to ensure that African interests are understood and effectively represented in the various global forums that debate and set rules in global economics, markets and institutions.  Visit the project website, for more information.


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