South Africa’s Role in Achieving Regional and Global Development Progress

Photo © Danie van der Merwe / Flickr
The Reserve Bank Building, symbol of South Africa's economic strength.

As Africa’s most diversified, developed and (until recently) largest economy, South Africa occupies a unique position in the international development debate.

It is an active player in global governance and development fora, maintains an extensive development partnership with its region, and is a member of the BRICS Forum of emerging powers (along with Brazil, Russia, India and China).  Along with most of its BRICS partners, South Africa positions itself squarely in the global South. It identifies with the global marginalisation of the African continent, but has also taken an active role in addressing this, advocating for and on behalf of African concerns. The primacy of Africa is a defining pillar of South Africa’s foreign policy, which is apparent in its various bilateral, regional and multilateral engagements. Articulated as the African Agenda by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) in its Strategic Plan, the continent sits at the heart of the country’s development partnership activities. South Africa has made significant investments in African institution-building, infrastructure development, regional integration and peace-building.

The 2009 announcement of a new South African Development Partnership Agency (SADPA) has generated interest among traditional donors to work more closely with South Africa in regional development. A new Policy Briefing, authored by SAIIA’s Director of Research Neuma Grobbelaar and Yunnan Chen, examines how SADPA could harness the competencies of a variety of South African and other state and non-state actors to support regional development.

Click here to download the new Policy Briefing.

This IDS Policy Briefing was written by Neuma Grobbelaar and Yunnan Chen, with support from Hannah Corbett. It was produced by the Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme based at IDS, which aims to build mutual understanding and learning around development between the UK, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and other rising powers.