Development through Trade

Image: Flickr, Russell Street
Image: Flickr, Russell Street

Established in March 2003 SAIIA's Development through Trade Programme has three principle objectives:

  • Facilitate consultation between governments and civil society over trade and investment policies and negotiations;
  • Facilitate “dialogue” between trade, investment and foreign policies;
  • Broaden public debate over trade and investment policies.

Behind these objectives is the view that trade and investment liberalisation, appropriately sequenced and managed through properly functioning institutions, is an important mechanism for addressing Southern Africa’s enormous development challenges.

Our work is broadly divided into two streams: area studies and issues analysis. The former analyses South and Southern Africa’s key trading partners on a regional basis, through the lens of various free trade area (FTA) negotiations either underway or envisaged. Its purpose is to discern the architecture of such negotiations as a prelude to understanding their broader impact on the region. An important subsidiary purpose is to identify negotiating options. The latter is intended to unpack key issues on the negotiating agenda on the multilateral (WTO) and regional stages with a view to formulating recommendations on policy and/or negotiating options. It also considers trade and investment policy issues which primarily reside outside of the reciprocal trade negotiations arena and should best be considered as unilateral policy measures.

Through a variety of channels, the project participates actively in the trade and development debate in the region: publications, including books, trade reports and briefings; events, including roundtables, workshops, and conferences; interaction with the media; interaction with regional and foreign governments; a growing network of regional and international partners; and participation in Business Unity South Africa’s trade committee.

The project is funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). This project is headed by Peter Draper.