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Argentina’s G20 Presidency: Implications for the G20–Africa Partnership

Argentina’s hosting of the G20 summit in 2018 presents a significant opportunity for it to represent the needs and expectations of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as a whole, as well as to advance a cohesive regional strategy for the Latin American bloc within the G20 (Argentina, Brazil and Mexico). Download report here

Argentina's G20 Presidency

With a focus on the benefits for Africa and the general key focus areas of the Argentine Presidency of the G20, the seminar brought together wide-ranging participants including scholars, academics, diplomats, government representatives, media and civil society.

Implications for the G20 – Africa Partnership

The Legacy of Argentina’s G20 Presidency in 2018: Priorities, Outcomes and Prospects

Special Report: Argentina's G20...

The Rainbow Myth: Dreaming of a Post-racial South African Society

Nelson Mandela’s ideals incite admiration and hope for most South Africans, overseas citizens and other international observers. The mission of the SA liberation movements and its icons was to build a non-racial society based on equality and justice. This has been the foundation of the ANC, its political programs and the SA constitution. Nonetheless how were the policies addressing socio-economic inequalities designed and implemented to build a rainbow nation? This paper will trace back the original mission of a rainbow nation and compare them with the present situation. 

IGD Newsletter 2018

Download the latest IGD newsletter to discover the latest Publications, Books and articles from the IGD by clicking here.

South Africa’s BRICS Engagement

Dr. Philani Mthembu, Executive Director at the Institute for Global Dialogue, opened the event by contextualising the day’s discussion and explained that the dialogue falls under South Africa’s second track diplomacy, whereby academic institutions, think tanks and researchers interact. South Africa pushed to have this interaction institutionalised in 2013 through its first BRICS Presidency. Download report

South Africa’s BRICS Presidency 2018: An Inclusive Path towards Global Development

Dr. Philani Mthembu, Executive Director of the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD), opened the dialogue by providing a brief review of South Africa’s diplomatic calendar for 2018, which is one of the busiest in the post-1994 era. The BRICS partnership, one of several foreign policy agenda items, has continued to evolve as it enters the beginning of its second decade. Download report

About Us

The Institute for Global Dialogue is an independent foreign policy think tank based in Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa. It advances a balanced, relevant and policy-oriented analysis, debate and documentation of South Africa and Africa’s global politics and diplomacy. It strives to promote a broader understanding of the role of foreign policy and diplomacy in the pursuit of national and international development goals.


Dialogue on Migrations in North and Latin America
Briefing on Fast-changing Horn of Africa Developments
IGD - FES Dialogue
T20 Summit Argentina
South Africa and Jamaica Past, Present and Future
MONA Debate
Does Democracy Create Free and Equitable Societies?
IGD Seminar with FES
MGG Seminar with the German Development Institute
IGD and ICRC Event
The African influence in Latin America and the Caribbean
IGD - HSRC Roundtable
IGD - SABTT Policy Dialogue
IGD FES - ACRP - FOCAC Symposium.jpg
IGD SABTT Symposium
BRICS in Africa
Blue Economy Symposium
17-19 November 2014
Humanizing the Textile and Apparel Seminar
G77 +China Symposium
Bali Outcome Seminar
US Diplomacy Dialogue
30 January 2013
Post-Election Zimbabwe Seminar
IGD Multilateral Development Cooperation Workshop
South African Foreign Policy Review Volume 1
Book Launch 15 Feb
South South Cooperation Roundtable
8 February 2013
Nuclear Diplomacy Roundtable Discussion
IGD Environmental Diplomacy Short Course
Graduate Discussion Forum
Post-Apartheid South Africa 2011
Code of Business Conduct Roundtable by IGD in Cape Town
SA's Second Tenure on the UNSC and the Emerging Powers Dimension
IGD Roundtable
Options for the creation of SADPA
US Diplomacy Dialogue 2014
US-SA Relations Seminar

Upcoming Events

Dr Dlamini Zuma’s win does not herald smooth sailing for South African foreign policy

After what seemed like an uphill battle against incumbent African Union (AU) Commission chair Jean Ping of Gabon, former minister for Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has secured the confidence of 37 out of 51 states in Africa to become the newest leader of the AU’s executive arm. While her victory is undoubtedly a triumph for the country, and indeed women everywhere, South Africa should not expect plain sailing in the months and years ahead, as this success will only catalyse more scrutiny of its foreign policy from its African neighbours.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has received much criticism for what many believed were over-ambitious tactics in attempting to secure Dlamini-Zuma’s election. After a failed attempt at winning the contest in January – as well as what must have been some incredibly robust negotiation behind the scenes – South African diplomats managed to secure enough votes to ensure Dlamini-Zuma would take up the reins at the AU with a view to revitalising a moribund and floundering organisation. Her experience in the former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and more recently her time improving the appalling performance of the Department of Home Affairs, meant that Dlamini-Zuma was touted as the candidate to bring about a new era for the AU – one in which the body could perhaps legitimately escape comparisons with its corrupt, ineffective predecessor, the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) or so-called “Dictators’ Club”.


The acrimonious nature of the election contest between Dlamini-Zuma and Ping was undeniable. South Africa was seen to be hubristic and insensitive (particularly when the South African delegation celebrated the stalemate at January’s conference), and Ping fired his own missiles in the form of press releases lambasting the South African approach to the contest. At its core, the spiteful tone of the election reflected broader resentment towards South Africa from its non-SADC neighbours; something that has been brewing ever since South Africa started to assert itself diplomatically post-1994. Although much of the media’s attention focused on the stratified support for Dlamini-Zuma and Ping from postcolonial Anglo- and Francophone countries respectively, some of the South African candidate’s largest detractors came in the form of Ethiopia, Nigeria and Kenya. Added to ECOWAS’s strong showing of support for Ping, it seemed unlikely that Dlamini-Zuma would get the nod from other African nations, particularly after the aforementioned stalemate in January.


This explains why this victory is so significant for South Africa. Going against the grain of the ‘unwritten rule’ that only smaller states should seed candidates for the AU Commission chair, South Africa proffered a contender that many believe to be capable of turning the AU around. Despite what DIRCO has described as a ‘victory for South African diplomacy’, this is now where the work truly begins. Indeed, South Africa will have to work hard to repair the cracks of resentment in the AU’s dam wall, lest the entire project of African rejuvenation crumbles.

Of particular importance in the coming years will be South African foreign policy on the continent: if anything, it will face even further scrutiny than before. The spotlight on Dlamini-Zuma will only serve to illuminate every nook and cranny of South African policy abroad, and the country’s more robust competitors in Africa will undoubtedly seek opportunities to cry foul at any presumed instance of Pretoria’s interference in AU affairs. While it seems that the likelihood of Dlamini-Zuma acting as Pretoria’s puppet is virtually nil, perception is everything in the diplomacy game, and South Africa will need to tread even more carefully than before in continental matters.

South Africa should be equally concerned about constructing a foreign policy that does not further alienate the continent. Recent action in the international realm has probably not left the AU with much confidence in South Africa’s political finesse, despite Dlamini-Zuma’s victory. After unceremoniously treading on Nigeria and ECOWAS’s toes in the Côte d’Ivoire election crisis; reneging on its commitment to Resolution 1973 which saw a no-fly zone implemented over Libya; and again recently inflaming tensions with Nigeria over the yellow fever vaccination deportation fiasco, South Africa is already on unsteady ground. It should seek to consolidate and build relations with the countries on the continent as much as possible. The country’s somewhat erratic recent policy decisions have been cause for concern at multilateral fora such as the UN: what seems like a lack of any coherent international agenda has only cultivated suspicion and dismay amongst former allies.

As a result, South Africa should seek to construct an overarching strategic vision for its foreign policy – one that is more practicable than current interpretations of its ‘African agenda’ foreign policy pillar. At present, it appears that the ‘African agenda’ needs to be unpacked, to ensure that South Africa can adequately represent issues of concern to Africa are on the international agenda. Now is the time for South Africa to seriously consider the long-term vision and structure of its foreign policy so that it may not only positively contribute to the revitalisation of the AU, but also repair fractured relationships between African states, to ensure that the continent assumes a mantle of responsibility, accountability and efficacy in world affairs. South Africa now has the opportunity to assume the role and status it has so desperately sought in world affairs. Its subsequent performance will dictate not only the country’s future on the continent, but also the future of Africa as a whole.

Lyndsey Duff is a researcher at the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD). She writes in her personal capacity.

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