South African foreign policy in uncertain times

SAIIA, in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, has recently launched a new book, 'Values, Interests and Power: South African foreign policy in uncertain times'.

South Africa’s foreign policy makers are facing a substantial challenge. From the advent of the democratic era in 1994 through to the early 2000s, South Africa was a highly respected actor in international affairs with a number of impressive accomplishments in the areas of global governance, peacekeeping and international norm entrepreneurship. However, since that time, the country’s international standing has declined. The value-based and innovative foreign policy that earned the early post-apartheid South African government such great international respect has been replaced by a more transactional and tactically driven approach to international affairs. The country’s position as Africa’s leading economy and voice in international affairs is increasingly being challenged by other African states.

This book explores how South Africa can develop a foreign policy strategy that is appropriate to the times in which we live and that both helps the country address its overwhelming domestic challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment and regain its former high international reputation.

As the world enters a period of significant instability, with COVID-19 accelerating the rivalry between the US and China, navigating the next decade in global affairs will require care and diplomatic adroitness for small countries like South Africa. It will require a rethinking of our previous assumptions in the changed geopolitical context. This book is intended to begin this conversation.

Download the book.

Read the news article.

The following policy briefs were produced as part of this initiative:

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