[in] focus

The budget vote and the future of South Africa’s diplomacy – time to get smart

imagesOn the 30th of May 2013 the Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and her two Deputy Ministers, presented the budget for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to Parliament.

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Was the SANDF deployment in the CAR justifiable?

SANDF-in-CAR-243x300The motives behind the involvement of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the Central African Republic (CAR) remains contested. Thirteen South African soldiers lost their lives in the CAR following confrontations with elements of the Seleka rebel group, who marched on Bangui, the capital of the CAR, on 23 March 2013 to oust the former president, Francois Bozize.

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Africa 2063 and ordinary Africans

LAST weekend, the continent of Africa celebrated its golden jubilee. Fifty years after independence from colonial rule began, it’s time to ask how we seize this opportunity to create a better continent which can benefit the world?

In the week of celebrations, the body of Chinua Achebe, Nigerian-born thinker and writer, was laid to rest after several weeks of mourning.

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From a pan-Africanist to a pan-humanist approach to the African Renaissance

Senegal-statue2May 25, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which has since 2002 been rechristened the African Union (AU). From Addis Ababa, the birth place of the OAU and the current seat of the AU, to Johannesburg, the epicentre of the 2008 xenophobic attacks on African migrants, there has not been a shortage of ‘Africa Day’ events, celebrating the vision, fighting spirit and achievements of the founders of the OAU.

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SA, UK and the international politics of ‘aid’

On the 30th of April the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) noted the ‘unilateral announcement’ by the UK to end its Official Development Assistance (ODA), or ‘aid’, to South Africa by 2015. This amounts to some £19 million a year for South Africa, which plays a role in supporting government development initiatives as well as civil society groups in addressing the priorities of unemployment, inequality and poverty.

The reasons behind the decision, set out by the UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening, is that relations with South Africa should be based on trade rather than aid and that South Africa has reached a position where it could fund its own development. This is a position supported by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who claims that the UK could not continue to support South Africa with ODA as it was the continent’s economic powerhouse, with a growing economy and rising incomes. The decision also follows on-going debates within the UK on aid spending and the implementation of austerity measures in addressing the effects of the international financial crisis.

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