[in] focus

South Africa and Mexico: Que Pasa?

Wayne JumatSouth Africa and Mexico are considered as “Pivotal” states in the Central American and Southern African regions, and formally established relations on 27 October 1993, with the subsequent opening of the South African Embassy in Mexico City on 10 January 1994. Respectively, these states are members to various international and regional organisations such as BRICS, G20, G77, MIKTA, and this supports the views of these states as prominent ‘emerging powers’ within the Global System of Actors. This may be due to these states’ access to these important platforms of political and economic discussions and negotiations, but they also have “voices” within these structures that carries quite some significance, whether in the Global South or Global North. Furthermore, a solid trade and political relationship has come about from interaction between these states, however more can and needs to be done to ensure the condition of this relationship remains mutually beneficial particularly as South Africa is Mexico’s biggest African trade partner.

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South African Embassy in Colombia to strengthen bilateral relations

imagesFollowing South Africa’s democratic transition, diplomatic relations with Latin American states have experienced significant developments. Colombian and South African diplomatic relations officially commenced in 1994, and were further strengthened by the opening of the Colombian Embassy in Pretoria in 1995. Since the commencement of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Colombia, the South African government had not yet established an Embassy in Colombia; instead they had a non-resident Ambassador based in Brazil in 1996.

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Reflecting on President Zuma’s visit to Beijing

lonagqizaThe President of South Africa attended the 70th Anniversary of the End of the Occupation of China and the Second World War in Beijing on the 3rd of September 2015, which was China’s biggest event this year. President Zuma was accompanied by the International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Deputy Energy Minister Thembisile Majola-Embalo.

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Operation Phakisa – the answer to South Africa’s economic woes?

Andrea RoyeppenThe Deputy Minister of International Relations, Nomaindya Mfeketo recently led a South African delegation to the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Conference hosted by Mauritius from 2-3 September 2015. The theme of this conference focused on the Blue Economy and discussed opportunities for cooperation around ocean energy, seaport and shipping, resource exploration, and aquaculture. As the next chair of the IORA (2017-2019), South Africa has successfully embedded itself in the area governed by the IORA. This is seen most visibly with its strong diplomatic engagement in the region. So what does membership mean for South Africa’s own blue economy ambitions outlined in Operation Phakisa?

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South Africa and the Vivid Invisibility of Central America

Wayne JumatThe recent protests leading to governmental resignations and consequent elections in Guatemala, natural disasters and northward-migration and smuggling of many Central Americans particularly children affecting the region, underlines the persistent struggles and deficits faced by people and the states in the region. These events have increasingly drawn more attention to the region, and have resulted in various opinions and analyses by authors and organisations. Despite existing formal and economic relations with states in Central America, the lack of a response or statement by South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) regarding the recent events in Guatemala presents Central America as a glaring vacuum in South Africa’s foreign policy. This potentially means that South Africa’s reactions to events in the region have no lasting effect or yield as they are eclipsed by this vacuum, as no platform exists from which to navigate events and build on relations in the region. This perceived inaction by South Africa’s sectors, inevitably brings two scenarios to mind.

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