June 2009: What’s happening at SAIIA?

Image: Flickr, waf1on1
Image: Flickr, waf1on1

May was a busy month at SAIIA, and not only were there special anniversary celebrations on the cards, but several workshops were held too.

Events organised in this month focused on issues ranging from climate change, the global financial crisis and South Africa’s financial stability to the continued importance of the African Peer Review Mechanism.

The Development through Trade Programme and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development hosted a closed event on regional trade and climate change on 7-8 May. Its purpose was to highlight African perspectives on climate change and how it affects trade.

The Programme also hosted two more events that addressed the international crisis and how it affects South Africa. This month’s roundtable on 19 May, ‘The global economic crisis and emerging protectionism: are we heading for a new world order?’ brought together experts such as Dr Razeen Sally, Dawie Roodt and Randall Williams to discuss the growing trend of protectionism by countries in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Since the announcement in May that South Africa is in a recession its financial position has come under increasing scrutiny. To this end a joint event hosted by Inwent Capacity Building International and the German Development Institute, on the ‘Current challenges to financial stability in Southern Africa’ brought together a number of central bankers, policy makers, financial practitioners and academics. The workshop tackled topics such as the role of financial and development institutions in maintaining financial sustainability in an increasingly financially interdependent global climate.

An APRM Experts’ workshop was organised by the APRM and Governance Programme to highlight the importance of education in promoting governance in Africa. The workshop highlighted the link between good governance and development and continental integration. African scholars such as Kwesi Kwaa Prah presented papers at this workshop. There were also presentations from a number of African universities on how the APRM can be integrated into university curricula.

May was also a month of celebration as SAIIA commemorated its 75th anniversary. As the Institute was founded in Cape Town it was appropriate that the Mother City played host to a number of events including a 75th Anniversary Banquet held on 12 May at Hotel Le Vendôme for Western Cape friends of SAIIA. Volunteers from our branch in the city as well as SAIIA Cape Town Office staff attended a cocktail reception on 11 May at the home of the branch chair, Dr Martha Bridgman.

At Jan Smuts House, Johannesburg and Pretoria staff members were also treated to a cocktail party on 14 May. The celebrations then moved to London where an Anniversary Conference entitled ‘South Africa and the world: A post-transition foreign policy’ was held at South Africa House on 22 May.  This event attracted a high profile audience of over seventy people representing diplomatic missions, UK government and parliament, academe, NGOs and the media.

17 Jun 2009