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News (115)

The 39th annual Group of 8 (G8) Summit takes place on 17 and 18 June 2013, with the UK as this year's president. To provide insights into her country's plan for this year's summit, Dame Nicola Brewer, British High Commissioner to South Africa, addressed a G8 study group this week organised by the GEGAfrica project (under SAIIA's Economic Diplomacy Programme) and the Humanities Department at the University of Pretoria.
This study provides data on the costs and challenges of implementing trade facilitation measures currently under negotiation in the WTO. It updates an earlier study undertaken in 2005. This updated study, based on data and insights from nine additional countries, confirms earlier findings identifying the measures that present the greatest challenges to developing countries in implementing reforms. The study also confirms that the costs of putting in place and maintaining trade facilitation measures are not particularly large and are far smaller than the benefits gained from implementing these measures. Moreover, an increasing amount of technical and financial assistance to implement…
There is a battle going on within and outside of the World Bank right now over the Bank’s flagship “Doing Business” (DB) report and index. Now this is not exactly a household word, but the fight is a very significant one for a number of reasons.DB ranks countries according to the “ease of doing business,” including such things as starting a business, enforcement of contracts, paying taxes, and other indicators. It has been under attack for years because it has a built-in bias against many regulations that people who care about the progress of humanity might see as important: employment…
On May 29, 2013, Paris hosted a seminar on global value chains organized jointly by the Russian G20 Presidency and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov delivered an opening address:Mr. Secretary General, colleagues,Russia's G20 Presidency is bringing much attention to the issue of global value chains. Such an approach, in our view, provides response to one of the main global challenges of the moment - I am referring to the choice between an open global economy promoting trade and investment, and protectionism.Today we are witnessing a transformation of the global production pattern, with more and more goods produced within global chains that embrace various countries that find themselves at various stages of developmentGlobal value chains open up a new dimension of the global economy. They are a a kind of a façade showcasing the interrelation of economic mechanisms that determines global economic development…
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 130, December 2012Download-English [pdf].Economic Diplomacy ProgrammeThe KAS guidelines are a framework for discussions on issues of global economic governance that could be relevant for all G-20 countries. This paper sets out to examine India’s approach to the guidelines against its internal and external policies and the general background of current changes and challenges in world economic governance.
Johannesburg — The lack of economic diversification throughout sub-Saharan Africa means that despite South Africa's pledges to help Nigeria make the automotive sector the West African nation's flagship industrial target, it may be difficult to do so, experts say.Earlier this month, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies announced the initiative during a visit here by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.It is a move that is seen as an important milestone in inter-African industrial cooperation. However, Peter Draper, a research fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs, questioned whether this collaboration would develop into economic integration."The real question is whether such cooperation could ultimately evolve into meaningful, broader, economic integration rather than the network of mostly hollow shells that currently masquerade as free trade agreements," he told IPS."I think that Nigeria and the Southern African Customs Union should negotiate a complementary Free Trade Area agreement to promote closer…
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 127, December 2012 Download-English [pdf].Economic Diplomacy Programme The Chinese government has attached great importance to the country’s relationship with South Africa. South Africa is the first developing country to which China has proposed establishing a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’.
SWP Research Paper 2013/RP 01, March 2013, 204 PagesEdited By: Hanns Günther Hilpert and Stormy-Annika MildnerClick here to download the PDF from the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik.SummaryDevelopments in the metals and minerals markets are creating great challenges for industries and governments. Prices have risen sharply over the past decade, with strong fluctuations. In many metal markets supply and demand are highly concentrated, with deposits localized in a handful of countries and production in the hands of just two or three companies. Increasingly frequent state intervention and speculative tendencies produce a situation where market mechanisms often fail to function satisfactorily.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 126, December 2012Click here to download the Paper in English from SAIIA [pdf].Published by the SAIIA Economic Diplomacy ProgrammeSouth Africa is a member of both the G-20 and the BRICS, which is a significant positioning for the country’s global strategy. This further enhances the country’s weight as Africa’s powerhouse. This membership occurs at a time when global governance is in a sustained state of flux, with no discernible leadership anchorage.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 15:54

Analysts caution EAC on Brics bank

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Dar es Salaam. While financial experts are optimistic of the Brics initiative to set up a bank that will lead to less rigid lending conditions, others fear that it will open doors for the institution to tap into Africa’s resources.
Monday, 20 May 2013 00:00

Ban picks ex-Kenyan minister to lead UNCTAD

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Geneva: UN chief Ban Ki-moon has nominated former Kenyan minister and Member of Parliament Mukhisa Kituyi to lead the UN’s trade and development body when the current chief steps down at the end of August.
New Delhi: IBSA is a unique Forum which brings together India, Brazil and South Africa, three large democracies and major economies from three different continents, facing similar challenges. All three countries are developing, pluralistic, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious nations.
At the recent Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the IMF outlined what it called “Steps to Energize Global Recovery.” These were generally met with skepticism, as many observers pointed to a global “stalemate” that is preventing the implementation of the international policy framework needed to address the remaining challenges from the global financial crisis. To get a better understanding of the situation and of the related discussions at the IMF meetings, we talk to Domenico Lombardi, director of CIGI’s Global Economy Program and a former member of the IMF executive board.CIGI: In an interview with The Washington Post, you referred to the IMF’s statements on the employment aspect of a European Union recovery as “a ‘diversion’ from the fact that there is a fundamental disagreement among and within nations about how to proceed.” Can you elaborate on this and what you think the…
Although Africa is moving forward, the United States is pulling back, says Mo Ibrahim, the billionaire entrepreneur and father of Africa's mobile phone revolution. "We are witnessing a gradual and continuous U.S. retreat from Africa," said Ibrahim, speaking at the Washington Hilton Hotel ballroom on Saturday at an event hosted by Africare. "We don't understand that. The U.S. has been a great friend all these years, but as soon as Africa found itself starting to move up, the U.S. is really disengaging, to be frank, and as friends we must be frank with each other."
Thursday, 25 April 2013 14:44

BRICS to unlock Africa’s potential

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BRICS-Summit-South-Africa-Emerging-Powers-Global-South-Human-Development-InequalityFIVE years ago, a group of emerging markets, Brazil, Russia, India and China came together to form the BRIC with South Africa joining the group later in 2010 to form what is now called the BRICS member states, whose objectives are to enhance peace, security, development and co-operation.
Thursday, 18 April 2013 13:31

Egypt opposition qualms stall IMF loan deal

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The Egyptian government is still seeking the approval of Egypt's political parties over the long-awaited $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is expected to ease the budget deficit in the coming fiscal year 2013/14.The ongoing lack of consensus among political parties could be a stumbling block, as the IMF has made it clear that it requires broad social and political support for the economic reform plan put forward by Egypt as a condition for obtaining the loan. 
Geneva:  The United States launched a blistering attack on fellow World Trade Organization member states on Thursday for failing to do more to cut global barriers to trade, criticizing India in particular for trying to introduce a "massive new loophole".  "The time has come to speak bluntly," U.S. ambassador Michael Punke told his counterparts at the Geneva-based body. "We must not sit idly by as the WTO's negotiating function hurtles towards irrelevance."Ambassadors to the 159-member WTO were meeting to review progress towards a possible deal to be signed in Bali in December, which would cut red tape from customs procedures, adding as much as $1 trillion to global trade.At the insistence of developing countries who objected to having to shoulder most of the burden of the red-tape reforms, a Bali agreement would also include limited reforms to rules on food and agriculture and special treatment for poor countries. While such…
Monday, 15 April 2013 09:51

Taming the dragon

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Delhi:  In many senses, the Brics Summit in Durban on March 26-27 has been a wake-up call for India. The strategic costs of policy confusion and paralysis at home, and the foreign policy implications of a floundering economy, have become obvious. Brics began as a two-horse race -  a teaming of emerging economies led by China and India. Today, it is dominated by China with no hope of India catching up in the near future. The gap between the two countries’ GDPs -  China’s is four times India’s GDP -  is simply too big to even contemplate bridging. This has had consequences. In South Africa, the Brics host, and in the African continent in general, China is the much more important power. Between India’s “historical relations” and “traditional support” and China’s overwhelming economic heft, there is no doubt which is winning.
by Economic Diplomacy Research TeamSAIIA Policy Briefing 63, March 2013Click here to download the Policy Briefing in English from SAIIA [pdf].Trade among the BRICS countries has shown progressive growth over the past decade. Although foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in all of the countries have increased, intra-BRICS flows do not correlate with trade figures. Overall, there is less clarity on specific detail of FDI flows among the five countries, and on how they can be encouraged. With respect to outward FDI, there seems to be little strategic policy direction. The policy briefing outlines the existing outward investment motivations and destinations for each of the countries, and the historical sources of FDI for the BRICS. It provides a series of policy recommendations, which are aimed at enhancing FDI flows among the BRICS.
The British government says it will use its position as chair of the Group eight (G8) countries to unlock trade corridors in Africa.The British government has also called on Zambia to put in place effective taxation policies to enable Zambians benefit from the country’s resources British High Commissioner to Zambia James Thornton says his country will use the G8 to unblock trade corridors specifically in Africa and reduce the transport costs that slow down the movement of goods and services.
The fourth meeting of the BRICS Trade and Economic Research Network (BRICS TERN) took place in Durban on 13 and 14 March 2013, hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).The BRICS TERN brings together think tanks and senior policy makers from BRICS countries to exchange views on trade, investment and economic policy issues.

  • Location Durban, South Africa
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 11:18

Brics: SA needs a strategy that works for Africa

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South Africa’s role as the voice of Africa’s interests at the fifth Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit will be tested by how well it can gain tangible benefits for itself and manage the rising expectations over the benefits it can leverage for the continent, through its place at the Brics table, according to policy analysts.The position South Africa has adopted as the champion of the continent, is a largely self-imposed one, and is contested by other African nations, said Memory Dube, senior researcher at the South Africa Institute for International Affairs.To succeed, it required a comprehensive and articulate Brics strategy that puts South Africa’s interests first, and an African development agenda that considers the competition of Brics nations on the continent, she said.Dube was speaking at a media briefing hosted by the institute ahead of the fifth Brics summit in Durban being held on Tuesday and Wednesday.Following…
Friday, 29 March 2013 00:00

BRICS: eThekwini Declaration

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1. We, the leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa, met in Durban, South Africa, on 27 March 2013 at the Fifth BRICS Summit. Our discussions took place under the overarching theme, “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”. The Fifth BRICS Summit concluded the first cycle of BRICS Summits and we reaffirmed our commitment to the promotion of international law, multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations (UN). Our discussions reflected our growing intra-BRICS solidarity as well as our shared goal to contribute positively to global peace, stability, development and cooperation. We also considered our role in the international system as based on an inclusive approach of shared solidarity and cooperation towards all nations and peoples.2. We met at a time which requires that we consider issues…
In the coming months across the globe the issue on every negotiation table and among trade experts will be who succeeds the current Director General (DG) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The current DG of the WTO, Pascal Lamy will end his second term in August 2013. Nominations to find his replacement began in December last year.
In a new series of video interviews, a special panel of experts present fresh insights into the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and their relationship with Africa. The latest interview is with Brendan Vickers from the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa, on the BRICS trade agenda, at the end of this article.Since South Africa's accession to the BRICS group of emerging powers in 2011, there has been sustained interest in South Africa's role in the grouping. Given that South Africa will be hosting the BRICS Summit in March 2013, this attention will only increase throughout the coming year. To provide insights into South Africa's position in the BRICS, and its relations with the other member states, SAIIA and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria have produced a series of video interviews with leading experts. This initiative forms part of…
Durban:  It is indeed a momentous occasion for South Africa to host the Fifth BRICS Summit, the first time on African soil. The BRICS Summit process has its origins in the extraordinary vision of our founding Leaders who constituted this grouping at a time of global uncertainty and transition during the financial crisis. The dire need for providing additional impetus to global governance reform debates was recognized. The growing interdependence between nations of the world required joint efforts to address common challenges. Our Leaders urged us to establish this Forum out of recognition of the importance of ideas in the realization of the vision and objectives of BRICS. As academics, you will all be aware of the value of research, knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer, and capacity building to policy development.  It is in the area of ideas where this Forum has a role to play in the BRICS architecture. You are…
Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:25

SA in Brics - Are we making the most of it?

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The Brics bloc wants deeper  trade and investment ties to  underpin its alliance. Troye  Lund assesses whether the  five members have moved  beyond being a loose political  grouping.Amid much fanfare, SA hosts a summit of the Brics bloc of countries later this month and though the newest - and smallest - of the group, it is revelling in its inclusion. Eager to belong, SA views the hosting of the summit as an endorsement of its tendency to punch above its weight in global affairs.
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 09:08

BRICS and Africa: insight from Martyn Davies

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The fifth BRICS Summit – to be held in South Africa’s Durban later this month – will be based on the theme “BRICS and Africa – partnership for development, integration and industrialisation”.South Africa, which accounts for around 11% of the BRICS total trade in Africa, was included in the grouping at the end of 2010, forming the ‘S’ in the acronym. In a recent article, How we made it in Africa reported that while South Africa is the smallest economy in the BRICS group – making up around 2.8% of total BRICS trade and 2.6% of the group’s GDP according to research by Standard Bank – it is the third largest BRICS trading partner in Africa, behind China and India. South Africa’s trade in Africa last year was 35% greater than Brazil’s trade with the continent and 200% greater than Russia’s.
There is growing resentment in Africa about the way in which South Africa professes to speak for the rest of the continent in its role as a member of key developing nation blocs, researchers and experts have warned.South Africa is a member of the India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) developing nations grouping, as well as the fledgling Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) club.
Thursday, 07 March 2013 09:39

Building on the Brics bloc

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SA's relations with its African neighbours and fellow Brics members - Brazil, Russia, India and China - are set to get a boost. Government is placing increasing importance on cementing trade and investment ties in the region and with the Brics bloc to drive economic growth.Finance minister Pravin Gordhan proposed a number of measures to relax cross-border financial regulations and tax requirements on companies, making it easier for banks to invest and operate in other countries.
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