Representing Africa in the world: setting priorities for South Africa’s foreign policy

SAIIA and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) recently hosted a public lecture delivered by DIRCO Minister, Her Excellency, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu.

The event provided a platform for members of the public to engage with government on its plans to harness its international engagements in service of achieving the goals of the National Development Plan – and the revival of the South African economy.

The upcoming two years also provide an important window for South Africa to reclaim its reputation as a global and continental leader. In January 2019, South Africa assumed a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for a third time. In 2020, South Africa will assume chairmanship of the African Union once again.

Through sustained engagement during its first term, South Africa spearheaded greater collaboration between the African Union and the United Nations, paving the way for the signing of the 2017 UN-AU Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership on Peace and Security. As such, the next few years hold potential to expand collaboration and coordination efforts.

Domestically, South Africa prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary of democracy this year, and some serious introspection is necessary regarding the mandate, efficacy and vision of our international relations. To this end, the Minister tasked a Foreign Affairs Review Panel to undertake this review and make recommendations for the future of South African foreign policy. This initiative promises to position the country more strategically in its future engagements by addressing some of the challenges the country has experienced in the past.

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