The Global Economic Governance (GEG) Africa programme is a policy research and stakeholder engagement programme to strengthen the influence of pro-poor African coalitions at global economic governance fora.

G20 (151)

The Department of Political Sciences and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) are holding a conference on 'Alliances Beyond BRICS: South Africa’s role in global economic governance.'
Dr Bheki Mfeka, Special Economic Adviser to the President, and South African G-20 Sous Sherpa, today addressed the Third Annual African G-20 Conference. His full speech is now available online.

  • Location Johannesburg
Monday, 01 December 2014 16:17

The G-20 Tax Agenda and Africa's Needs

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The importance of taxation goes far beyond providing income to finance the public sector, investments, and the basic needs of the population. The establishment of states is partly attributed to the tax system which has also contributed to promoting the state’s legitimacy, strengthening democracy, as well as to creating economic well-being for the general population.
For global governance watchers, last week was the big week of the year. Between 7 November and 16 November, the world witnessed an APEC meeting in Yanqi Lake near Beijing complete with a bilateral China–Japan ‘breakthrough’ and a major US–China climate deal; an historic ASEAN and East Asia Summit held in Naypidaw, Myanmar; and a colourful G-20 meeting in Brisbane, Australia.
The Group of 20 (G-20) will hold its ninth Leaders Summit in Brisbane, Australia next week.  Around the table are expected to be three African Heads of State from South Africa, Mauritania and Senegal. South Africa is the only permanent African member of this prestigious group that is the self-styled pre-eminent forum on global economic governance issues.
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.
As the only African member of the G-20, South Africa carries the weight not only of its own national interests but of being a voice for the concerns of African and low-income countries. While South Africa has no official mandate to represent anyone but itself, there is implicit pressure to ensure that those countries and institutions who participate in the G-20 processes at least understand how some their decisions might impact upon African non-members.
Monday, 10 November 2014 17:39

G20 Summit 2014: SAIIA materials

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Ahead of ninth annual Summit of the Group of 20 (G-20) nations, to be held in Brisbane from 15- 16 November, SAIIA has made a range of useful materials available. From the facts about the G-20, to the issues likely to arise at the Summit, the experts and resources below can assist journalists, commentators and researchers prepare to follow the event.
On 12 November 2014, Oxfam South Africa and the Global Economic Governance Africa project, a joint initiative by SAIIA and the University of Pretoria, held a Media Briefing and panel discussion on the upcoming G-20 Summit. A video of the briefing is now online.
Monday, 27 October 2014 09:05

The G-20 and B-20 explained

The Group of 20 (G-20), a forum for the governments and central bank governors from 20 major economies, will hold its annual Summit from 15-16 November, in Brisbane, Australia. The G-20 has also given rise to a number of focused sub-groups on key isues such as business, labour, youth and civil society. A new video has been released on the B-20, the grouping with leads engagement with Group of 20 (G-20) government on behalf of the international business community. Watch the video below to hear about the role of the G-20 and B-20 and the work of the B-20 during…


South Africa’s current growth rate, and trajectory, is weak. Global circumstances, notably our exposure to continued European stagnation and financial market tapering by the US Federal Reserve Bank, are partly to blame. Structural conditions, particularly continued commodity dependence, weak manufacturing capacity, skills shortages, and infrastructure bottlenecks, also play a role.
The Economic Diplomacy Programme at SAIIA and the Mandela Institute, School of Law at the University of Witwatersrand hosted a public G-20 Study Group on 'Ensuring South African and Other Developing Nations Benefit from the G-20's Work on Tax.'

  • Location Pretoria
For some the Group of 20 (G20) is synonymous with political symbolism, for others the G-20 yields much influence in setting agendas for the global economy through the framing of discourses and the prioritisation of some ideas and policies over others. For South Africa, being the only African member of the G-20 brings with it the – at times, burdening – ‘first in Africa’ label. Although internationally of relatively small economic and political weight, South Africa is an African power, and it has taken on a related representative role within the G-20.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 16:21

Global Economic Governance - Student Blog Series

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SAIIA’s GEGAfrica portal and the Department of International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand (#WitsIR) are partnering on an innovative initiative that draws on the strengths of Southern Africa’s oldest and largest academic programme in International Relations and the continent’s leading think tank*.
South Africa is the only African member of the Group of 20 (G-20) and therefore carries the weight not only of its own national interests but of being a voice for the concerns of African and low income countries. While South Africa has no official mandate to represent anyone but itself, there is implicit pressure to ensure that those countries and institutions who participate in the G-20 processes at least understand some of the impacts that their decisions might have on African non-members.
The Australian Institute of International Affairs has just released a special magazine, G20: Words into Action Brisbane 2014, which contains a series of important articles on the upcoming Group of 20 (G-20) Summit to be held in Brisbane in November 2014.Click here to view the publication in ePub format.SAIIA has contributed an article to this magazine, exploring out South Africa's role within the G-20.Click here to read the article, 'South Africa and the G-20'.
The South African Institute of International Affairs and the South African Ministry of Finance invite you to a cocktail reception and discussion session on 'South Africa in the G-20 and the BRICS: In pursuit of development', with Mmakgoshi Phetla-Lekhete, Deputy Director General, National Treasury of South Africa.

  • Location Stipphotels Kiyovu, Kigali, Rwanda
In the latest in our series on African membership of the Group of 20 (G-20), Ebere Uneze, the Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa, responds that although the G-20 does need to include more African members, Nigeria may not be the best fit.
I was caught by the discussion in this morning’s New York Times in the "Room for Debate" section. Several old friends from global summitry analyses and a few new acquaintances set out their opinions on whether to kick Russia out of the Group of 8 (G-8) or not.
The Center on Global Trade and Investment (CGTI) at the School of Economics from Getulio Vargas Foundation in Brazil hosted the 5th BRICS Trade and Economic Research Network (TERN) meeting on 17 March 2014 at the FGV Headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

  • Location Rio, Brazil
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 176, February 2014
The Group of 20 (G-20) was formed in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998. It was formed by the world's most influential countries with a view to reforming the global financial architecture, with the intent that this would prevent a similar crisis happening in future. The G-7 would emerge to be the nucleus of the G-20 grouping. In order to arrive at twenty members the remainder had to be selected from economies which were influential in terms of size and/or geopolitical significance.It is in this context that Argentina - whose economy was doing quite well at the time…
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 14:48

The G-20 and Africa: A Critical Assessment

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SAIIA Policy Briefing No 84, February 2014 Download - English (254.37 kB)Economic Diplomacy ProgrammeAgainst the background of an increasingly complex structure of global economic governance, this briefing seeks to assess how well G-20 member countries have responded to the concerns of sub-Saharan Africa. The assessment is made in the context of the possible failure by the G-20 to take into account the legitimate interests of sub-Saharan African countries, among which only South Africa is a G-20 member. It evaluates G-20 performance in five critical areas. They are, respectively, identifying aims, respect for applicable principles of international law, good administrative practice, comprehensive…
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 14:46

Should Australia Change the Membership of the G-20

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One of the issues which Australia should address during its presidency of the G-20 is the group's membership. It is the same today as when Canadian finance minister Paul Martin launched it after the East Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. It includes the old industrial nations and several prominent developing countries. They collectively encompass 90% of global GDP and 80% of world trade.
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 15:14

A big year for the GEG-Africa and the G-20

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The Global Economic Governance Africa (GEG-Africa) Project maintained a keen focus on developments in the Group of 20 (G-20) during 2013. This was to advance understanding and to spotlight both the existence and absence of specific linkages between G-20 processes, G20 decisions and how that affects countries in Africa (South Africa is the only African member of the G-20). During the year, research and various events were undertaken to this end.   
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 158, October 2013
Discussions in Group of 20 (G-20) meetings over the last several years have increasingly focused on the need for a huge scale-up in infrastructure investments in developing countries, particularly through large regional projects involving private sector participation.
Global agricultural trade policies and food systems, including the new value chains narrative, advance high and sustained productivity to cushion against unpredictable markets and volatile food prices, as well as growing commercialisation of biofuels from food crops, but most importantly for satisfying increased consumer demands and food security requirements. Advocacy claims for increased productivity are in contrast to food-activism views that even current global agricultural production and distribution, if re-allocated in the absence of distortions, would be more than adequate for all these purposes.
Thursday, 14 November 2013 09:53

The Green Economy in the G-20: New research

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Climate change, the focus of the 19th Conference of Parties (COP19) underway in Poland from 11 to 22 November 2013, is one challenge that requires a truly global response that encompasses environmental, social and economic issues. Reflecting this the term “green economy” has seen an upsurge in interest globally and SAIIA’s Economic Diplomacy Programme is undertaking new research in this area, especially since the issue was placed on the Group of 20 (G-20) agenda in 2012.
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