SAIIA invites economics journalists to the 2012 Media Forum on Trade Policy

The South African Institute of International Affairs will be hosting a Media Forum in Trade Policy on Wednesday, 14 March 2012, in Johannesburg. The workshop is designed to enhance the ability of economics journalists to evaluate policy issues relating to international trade. The aim is to promote quality debate around key milestones on the global and domestic economic agenda.

Economics journalists from South Africa and the SADC region are encouraged to contact SAIIA should they want to attend the forum. Kindly send your full name, contact details and that of your media organisation to

SAIIA will also be hosting the 4th Annual Public Forum on Deepening Engagement on South Africa’s Trade Policy on Thursday, 15 March 2012. Media representatives are welcome to attend and report on the discussions. The full and final programmes will be made available on confirmation.


Ideological posturing has made the debate around trade reform contentious in South Africa. The antagonism around the debate has prevented an open, evidence-based dialogue. However, trade policy reform forms part of the structural economic reform agenda in South Africa, as it has potential to offer significant positive impacts on economic performance and poverty.

Trade and economic decisions affect not only businesses and governments, but ordinary citizens too. This being the case, it is important for any society to know more about its trade and economic policies and be able to participate fully in shaping such policies.

Despite their indisputable importance in the overall development matrix, trade policy issues are currently not receiving sufficient informed coverage in the local media. Similarly, debates involving key stakeholders could be much better informed. Part of the reason they are not is that most journalists and other key players are not sufficiently well-versed with these issues themselves making it difficult to increase general public awareness about them.

The project under which the training course resides, ultimately hopes to empower stakeholders (media, business, consumers, political parties and people within the governing alliance) to engage in and influence the debate on trade policy. Active and informed engagement by the media would promote quality debate around key milestones on the global and domestic economic agenda e.g. G20 meetings, EU-SA meetings, announcements of changes to trade policy, etc.

Against this backdrop, SAIIA is offering a trade policy course covering key trade issues targeted at regional business journalists. We have invited a number of experts to share their insights on new and developing economic trends and debates. The information garnered from this media workshop is guaranteed to further journalistic understanding of trade reform as well as lead to better, more informed stories on trade and the economy generally. This course is designed to enhance the ability of journalists to evaluate policy issues relating to international trade. Specific learning outcomes include:

• Deeper understanding of global trade issues including the trajectory of global economic governance;

• The role of trade policy within broader economic policy formulation; and

• Approaches to regional economic integration with specific application to the Southern African and African contexts.

All sessions will be conducted under the Chatham House Rule*. Furthermore, in order to maximise discussions, admission is conditional on participants attending the entire day.

Download the Draft Programme here

28 Feb 2012