Monday, January 25, 2016

Johannesburg and Cape Town Excursions

While the purpose of the trip was to learn about Chinese and Indian economic and political engagement in South Africa, an added perk of the trip was exploring sunny Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, and Stellenbosch.

Sunny day in Johannesburg

Union Buildings in Pretoria 
Nelson Mandela, Pretoria

SAISers in Pretoria 

Flying to Cape Town 
Sea Point Promenade, Cape Town, South Africa

Leeu Estates in Franschhoek 

Fish Hoek, South Africa

Cape of Good Hope

Slightly windy at the Cape of Good Hope

Boulders Beach complete with African Penguin colony 

View from Table Mountain, Cape Town 
Table Mountain sunset

The sun sets over Cape Town, South Africa

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day Six: Indian Consulate in Cape Town and Discussion with Sanusha Naidu

Day Six: January 20, 2016

Morning Meeting: Indian Consulate in Cape Town, South Africa

We met Puneet Kundal, the Indian Consul General in Cape Town. Mr Kundal was posted to Cape Town after stints in Cairo, Oman, Brussels, Dhaka and Kathmandhu. The remit of the Indian consulate general in Cape Town extends to Western Cape and Eastern Cape. A part of the job of the consul general is to inform the local government about the policies of the government of India and to facilitate greater engagement between the Indian and provincial government officials.

The discussions ranged from domestic policies of the government of India to the reforms of the Indian Security Council. According to Mr Kundal, India has the most robust economic growth record in the recent times amongst BRICS nations. India’s economic growth has recovered over the past couple of years. Because India, much like South Africa, is a services oriented economy, it has not been affected as much by the headwinds buffeting the global economy. Mr Kundal also outlined the policies that the government is implementing to boost growth. In particular, the Make in India initiative is aimed to trying to boost the share of manufacturing in India’s output from its current rate of 18%. The ‘Skill India’ initiative aims to provide employable skills to 50 million Indian over the next 5 years. Issues of pollution are a part of the growth process. Government of India is also dealing with issues of air pollution and climate change. The government aims to source almost 130,000 MW of power from renewable sources.

India’s strength in services, according to Mr Kundal, drives the economic engagement between India and South Africa. Almost a third of South Africa’s generic drugs are sourced from India. Indian IT companies are also active in South Africa. India’s strength in ‘frugal engineering’ – Mr Kundal cited an anecdote of India’s mission to Mars was cheaper than the production of the Hollywood move Gravity – is also driving the economic engagement. Trucks and vehicles from Tata and Mahindra are sold in South Africa.

Kundal spoke to our group about India’s engagement in South Africa, and the two countries’ shared experience as BRICS economies. Kundal began by admitting that slowdown in Brazil, South Africa, China and Russia due to commodity prices, economic rebalancing and sanctions was a challenge to the BRICS narrative. Nonetheless he argued that the population, growth rates and importance of each country mean that BRICS summits continue to be valuable. He also argued against the claim that China is the glue that holds the BRICS together. He pointed out that India alone of all the BRICS countries was not experiencing slowdown in rate of growth and that while the BRICS bank is based in Shanghai, it is headed by an Indian.

Other foreign policy interests were mentioned, including reform of the Security Council and India’s foreign policy establishment. When asked about the small size of India’s foreign service relative to a country of its size, Kundal admitted that this restricted India’s ability to act abroad. He explained that India’s foreign service was smaller than Singapore, not due to lack of applicants but because the government did not properly appreciate the necessary scale required. He mused that cutbacks of excessive benefits to higher ups in government might lead to expanding the size of the foreign service.

Finally on the matter of UNSC reform, Kundal argued that India’s role as a peacekeeping contributor, responsible nuclear power, and populous and important economy entitled it to a seat on the security council.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa

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Afternoon Meeting: Sanusha Naidu

Today’s meeting took place at Moyo Restaurant, which is nestled in the beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. We met with Sanusha Naidu, a China Africa expert at the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD), a research institution located on the University of Cape Town campus.

The meeting generated fruitful discussions on China and India’s respective engagement strategies in sub-Saharan Africa. On the one hand, the Chinese foray on the subcontinent has generally followed a threefold pattern of foreign aid, small-scale trade, and large-scale foreign direct investment. Interestingly, the latter two types of engagement often flow from the first, whereby aid projects are taken over by private entities seeking economic gain. Furthermore, the Chinese have ventured on the subcontinent decisively and dynamically. According to Ms. Naidu, the Indians have sought to avoid comparison to the Chinese in this domain. However, because of their respective size and importance, the two are often lumped together, and the Indians often unwittingly compare themselves to their eastern neighbour. The Indians, on the other hand, appear reluctant to engage in a some projects on the subcontinent, perhaps in part due to the institutional risks and sluggish company-specific decision-making. This risk aversion was seen in two delayed Indian projects in Angola, which were later scooped up by Chinese investors.
During the latter half of our discussion, we explored a variety of topics that our group had already been introduced to in previous meetings. Naidu agreed that Chinese engagement in Africa has helped reinvigorate interest in the continent; however, she also asserted that Western nations had long sought engagement with African nations in cooperation for aid projects in search of a “nice fuzzy feeling.” We also expanded a conversation on the future relevance of the ANC within South African politics, especially in the context of the ongoing student protests, which suggest that the younger generation of South Africans neither display absolute loyalty to the ANC as liberators from Apartheid, nor do they fear reprisals from the government over the escalation of registration fee protests.

In conclusion, the discussion in which we engaged as part of the meeting expanded our knowledge of foreign engagement in Africa, particularly from China and India. Moreover, it resulted in fascinating discussions on the topic of the BRICS countries, and the obsolescence of the term.

Following our afternoon meeting we headed to Forries in Newlands to meet SAIS Alumni living in Cape Town. A special thanks to Oliver Drews (SAIS '92) for organizing the event.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day Five: Professor Brian Levy and Robben Island

Day Five- January 19

Morning Meeting: Professor Brian Levy, University of Cape Town and SAIS

Today we spoke with Brian Levy, a SAIS professor currently teaching at the University of Cape Town. From the beautiful offices of the Graduate School of Development, Policy, and Practice in which he works from January through April, Professor Levy spoke with us on a wide range of issues relating to the current environment in South Africa. The recent history of this country very much shapes South African politics today. Professor Levy started his discussion with an introduction of the program that he is helping to develop at the University of Cape Town. Similar to the international development concentration at SAIS, but for mid-career professionals, the professor’s ultimate vision of the program is to provide an understanding of the “messy complexity” of important issues, not only in South Africa, but regionally and globally as well.
Professor Levy paints a somewhat pessimistic outlook of South Africa. Highlighting the central features of the country, especially in relation to China and India, he stated that South Africa’s inheritance as a part of western globalization stems from its colonial history. This colonial experience is so deeply embedded in the people’s minds that despite the relatively peaceful transition to universal democracy, popular South African sentiment distrusts the West, making other centers relatively more appealing as potential partners. Both India and China fall into this category of “alternatives” to the West. At the same time, South Africa is struggling to reconcile its historical inequality with a desire to grow its economy. The Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy is an attempt to transform the racial structure of the middle class and the elite.
Nevertheless, today, it is increasingly debated whether Nelson Mandela succeeded in creating the ideal equal society (or one that can naturally move in that direction) or simply reorganized the ethnic divide. In other words, is Nelson Mandela a “sellout” to the status quo of the social and economic injustice of apartheid South Africa? Brian Levy believes that some in South Africa do hold this belief. Among the admiration and respect for South Africa’s former president and despite the freedom and equality hailed after liberation, South Africa’s per capita income today still falls at the same level as Thailand and Turkey (at $7000), and its Gini coefficient is approximately 0.70 -- higher than Brazil, which is  often considered the poster child of inequality. Over two decades into universal democracy, there still exists an extraordinary inequality that is divided along racial lines. The top income group continues to be dominated by white South Africans, while black South Africans still find it hard to advance up the social and economic ladder. Despite similar educational opportunities and national policies aimed to correct the imbalance, opportunities for first generation educated blacks are limited and often insurmountable. Similar to the 1969 anti-Chinese riots in Malaysia, Professor Levy believes that a strong correlation between race and class in a country with a history of privilege and discrimination can lead to political instability. South African leadership will need to address these issues to remain politically viable.
Professor Levy touched on other aspects of South Africa’s political climate that are affecting its success in the world arena. First, he describes South Africa as a member of the BRICS in which its benefits are limited, especially when compared with other members such as China and India. South Africa experienced a large boom in construction pre-World Cup and two subsequent busts that put significant downward pressure on the South African economy.  The two busts in infrastructure development arose through two main channels: corruption (both public and private), and a collapse in demand post-2010. Compounding infrastructure difficulties is a depreciating ZAR. Professor Levy spoke about three main drivers of South African currency depreciation: 1) a strengthening USD which is putting deflationary pressure on most major world currencies, 2) a decrease in commodity export prices, and 3) domestic politics (including some scandals) within South Africa. These factors, along with the country’s inability to capitalize on the past decade’s commodity boom means that poverty and inequality are rampant within South Africa, most likely to the detriment of its economic growth.
Despite some gloomy signs within South Africa, especially with regards to inequality and the economy, Professor Levy also provided some signs that successful mobilization of South African resources may be achieved efficiently in various industries such as renewable energy. He ultimately distilled the purpose of his graduate program at the University of Cape Town as a question of “can the center hold?” In other words, there is a need to nurture complex discourse, question the status quo, learn to work in a space of complexity, and ultimately realize gains regardless of the challenges. He reiterated that success is a spectrum, and can come from multiple paths.  Despite the problems apparent in current South African politics as well as some notable counter forces, his belief is that South Africa is a strong example of the center holding. This pragmatic optimism seems to underlie his involvement in this particular program. So far, the response of the program’s 20 students has been positive, and it will be interesting to follow the development of this program in the future.

- Alyssa Teddy and Jane Qiu

Robben Island

In the afternoon the group travelled to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years as a political prisoner.

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

Shoreline of Robben Island

Depending on your race you were given different rations of food each day

Nelson Mandela's prison cell in Robben Island

Monday, January 18, 2016

Day Four :The Centre for China Studies, Stellenbosch University & Leeu Estates

Day Four- January 18

Morning Meeting: The Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University

Meeting with CCS Acting Director, Ross Anthony.
Greetings from Cape Town! After an action-packed week in Johannesburg, we have started our Cape Town tour with a visit to the Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) at Stellenbosch University. We were met by the interim director of the CCS, Dr. Ross Anthony. Dr. Anthony holds a doctorate in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge and conducts research on China’s economic investments in Africa as well as China-Africa cooperation on geo-political security issues. He has also examined issues in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China. Dr. Anthony introduced us to the Centre’s mission and answered our questions on China’s engagement on the African continent.   

About the Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Established in 2004, the CCS is one of the most prominent institutions for scholarship on the presence of China and greater East Asia in Africa. Although based at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, the CCS focuses on China’s engagement on the broader African continent. The CCS initially began as a consultancy and advisory corps (founded by Martyn Davies- who we met with last week) but has since shifted its focus to non-partisan policy analysis on political, economic, and environmental drivers in the China-Africa relationship. In addition to academic and policy research, the CCS is working expand its teaching program so as to build Africa-based expertise on China-Africa relations. To this end, the CCS has partnerships with four Chinese universities and works closely with the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University.

China’s Economic Slowdown: Impending Doom?

We opened our discussion by asking Dr. Anthony for his views on the effects of China’s economic slowdown on the economies of African nations. Dr. Anthony explained that much like the 1970s, many Chinese companies are “going out” and engaging in massive infrastructure projects around the world. In 2015, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi visited Africa and discussed China-Africa cooperation around the “three networks of infrastructure and industrialization”, whereby China would assist African nations in building ports, roads, railways, and other necessary infrastructure. This policy would not only address the gap in critical infrastructure for African nations, but would also ease the overcapacity problems in China and help keep Chinese companies afloat. Though this kind of “win-win” cooperation undoubtedly has benefits for both sides, it will not necessarily have uniformly positive affects. For example, Dr. Anthony discussed the decline in competitiveness of China’s manufacturing sector and how China may look to push some of this industry overseas to Southeast Asia or Africa. In the case of South Africa, there could be challenges in establishing China’s manufacturing industry here due to strong labor laws and powerful labor unions with ties to the government.  

China as a Different Model; Anti-China/Anti-Western Sentiments

During this trip, many of us have talked to ordinary South Africans about their views on China. While some people have acknowledged the benefits of China’s engagement in Africa, many people also viewed China’s presence on the continent as a looming threat. In light of this, we were keen to ask Dr. Anthony how African politicians can afford to support China without angering their constituents. He pointed out that this really depends on the electorate; in South Africa, the African National Congress Party (ANC) is bleeding votes from the middle class and is much stronger in rural areas, where foreign policy is not necessarily a key issue for voters. At the same time, even though politicians may adopt an anti-China stance to appease their constituents, once elected they may change their thinking because of China’s strong connections on the continent (as was the case in Zambia in the 2006 presidential election). Apart from how voters view China, Dr. Anthony also discussed China’s lack of exportable culture and Africa’s western-influenced media as other reasons for why China is sometimes viewed negatively in Africa, which is something we had previously discussed with the China-Africa Media Project at Wits University in Johannesburg.  

Areas of Cooperation: China, South Africa

We were interested to hear Dr. Anthony’s views on other areas of Chinese engagement in Africa and whether there are any areas of cooperation between China and South Africa on the continent. One of Dr. Anthony’s research areas is in security issues and he explained how China from an early point has gone into dangerous areas such as the Congo and South Sudan. It has been expanding its involvement in Africa by establishing a base in Djibouti and having a military presence in South Sudan and Mali. In terms of cooperation with South Africa, while there may be some security cooperation, Dr. Anthony told us that on the rest of the continent, China and South Africa are actually competitors in infrastructure development. For example, South African telecom companies such as MTN compete with Chinese companies such as Huawei or ZTE for projects in other African nations.

- Natalie Lynch, China Studies, SAIS

Lunch at Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, South Africa

 Afternoon Meeting: Mullineux & Leeu Collection

After a short drive from the Stellenbosch University, we arrived at Franschhoek (a picturesque wine town about an hour and a half from Cape Town) for lunch and visit to the tasting room of one of the most renown high-end wineries in the Swartland area of western South Africa: Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines. A few years ago, the Indian investor

Analjit Singh bought a significant share in the wine company, initially started by the Mullineux family. With his partnership, the brand name added "Leeu" which in Africans means "Lion"- also the meaning of "Singh" (his surname) in Sanskrit. The multibillionaire has not only invested in this particular winery, but has also bought adjacent land in order to enter the hospitality service and produce his on wine as well. He is thought to be the first Indian to invest  in the wine and hospitality sector of South Africa.

Despite the fact that Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines is partly owned by an Indian investor their main markets remain the United Kingdom, Europe and the Unites States in oppose to an Indian focus. The immensely high tariffs on wines imposed by the Indian government serve as a true trade barrier and make it practically impossible for wine exports to India. Mr Singh from Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines has even founded a separate company in India to facilitate imports into India, but thus far the efforts have been proven to be in vain. 

India has long held a tradition of protectionism and it is apparent that it is certainly no different for wines. However, the recent change in government with Prime Minister Modi demonstrating a clear pro-business attitude, this might change somewhat over the next couple of years. Maybe Mr Singh will then be able to export his own wine from Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines into India.

- Diana Mayrhofer and Shuja Malik

The group completed the meeting with a tasting of the Mullineux and Leeu Chenin and Syrah collection, and a visit and tour to the Leeu Estates, currently under construction, which will open in June as luxury hotels, vineyard, gardens and spa. We were shown around the beautiful estate by the Leeu collections farm manager and their horticulturalist.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Day Three: The China- Africa Project, TATA Africa, and The South African Institute of International Affairs

Day 3- January 15

Morning Meeting: Cobus Van Staden, The China- Africa Project

Our third day in Johannesburg started with a meeting with Dr. Cobus Van Staden, a lecturer in Media Studies at Wits since 2013. Dr. Staden, a former journalist, focuses on Japan and China’s contrasting models of media diplomacy in the developing world and is the co-founder of the China Africa Project, which he described as a news aggregator, a "one stop shop" for things China and Africa. Given our focus on the relationship between China and Africa, he was the perfect person for us to learn from about the engagement of Chinese media in Africa. 

Dr. Staden began his remarks by highlighting that state owned Chinese press has been present in Africa for quite some time now, starting out in the early 1960s. During the Mao era, China Radio International distributed content for free (along with radio transmitters) in the continent but this content did not gain much popularity. Although it focused on the common anti-imperial ideology, the Chinese content which was mostly pre-recorded messaging, was perceived to be "boring." These transmissions gradually declined and were stopped after the Cultural Revolution. 

The Chinese media re-engagement in Africa restarted in the 90's but really took off in 2012. Chinese television CCTV and news agency Xinhua setup offices in Nairobi, Kenya and started actively engaging with the continent. The most popular satellite network in South Africa DSTV carries two Chinese channels. Yet, the Chinese media houses have not been able to gain much traction in the African markets, specifically in southern African countries. Editors only seem to use Xinhua when the news agency is reporting on topics not related to China. Dr. Staden attributed this lack of success to the risk averse and "goodie goodie" approach Chinese media houses have used in their reporting. These organizations have attempted to "tell the real story of the China-Africa relationship" but this strategy has failed, presumed to be propaganda ridden. The only Chinese media product with significant appeal to audiences in Africa are the Kung Fu movies which the Chinese try to not associate with.

Responding to a question about the hiring practices of Chinese media houses in Africa, Dr. Staden said that often local senior journalists are hired and paired up with junior Chinese journalists. This serves as a learning experience for the junior Chinese journalists, and if they can prove themselves in tough conditions like Africa, they quickly rise within these organizations. The impression Dr. Staden has of the Chinese approach to media in the region is that Africa is the place to try new things and models. And the model seems to be changing drastically. Rather than providing content now, the Chinese seem to be focusing their investments on providing technology infrastructure, building networks and satellite connectivity.

Speaking about perceptions in the local media about the Chinese engagement, Dr. Staden said that those opinions also seem to be unfavorable at the moment. He said that quite often the distinction between governments and companies is afforded to the West while in China's case, both governments and business entities are seen as one. African media considers it own role as that of a watchdog, a school of thinking quite far from the Chinese model. It is important to remember that the Chinese media engagement in Africa is a part of their global outreach efforts and is not a targeted effort for the continent. 

Dr. Staden admitted that he was not an expert on the topic on the Indian media in the continent. But he did confirm that unlike the Chinese media, owing to large Indian diaspora in the region, Indian media is quite successful, which satellite carriers providing numerous Indian television channels. As one would imagine, Indian movies are extremely popular. Even the local film industry attempts to imitate the Indian cinema (e.g. the Nigerian film industry) which is a testament to deep rooted links India has with the continent. 

Post Meeting Excursion

Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

Lunch Meeting: TATA Africa

Over lunch we met Mr R K Das, the head of the Mineral Business of Tata Africa Holdings. Tata Group is an Indian conglomerate with interests in business as diverse as salt and software. Tata Group is unique in that is owned by charitable trusts.

Unlike many other Indian conglomerates, the Tata Group has diversified their operations around the world. They entered the African continent in Zambia in 1977. Tata Africa Holdings was founded in South Africa in 1994 as a strategic investment arm of the Tata Group. Tata Africa mainly acts as a gateway for all Tata group companies who want to do business in the African continent. Tata group companies are present in 16 African countries and employ over 3800 people.

Tata Consultancy Services, the IT services arm of the Tata Group, is the most active group company in South Africa. They provide services to clients in telecommunications, financial services, healthcare and natural
resources sector. Tata Motors also assembles trucks in South Africa and sells them across the continent. Tata group is also present in the pharmaceutical sector where they import medicines from India, which are a lot cheaper than those available in South Africa. Tata Power and Tata Steel, particularly its European unit, source raw materials for their operations from Africa. Tata group companies also own mineral resource assets in South Africa and across the African continent.

Contrary to popular perception, the Tata Group has found doing business in South Africa quite easy. The rules are clear and are enforced fairly. This is contrary to their experience in certain other African countries where they have seen abrupt policy changes. Infrastructure, particularly roads and ports, in South Africa is excellent, especially compared to the rest of the African continent.
A single South African port, for instance, has as much coal handling capacity as all of the Indian ports. However, poor industrial relations environment hampers business activity. The frequent strikes has affected investor sentiment.

According to Mr Das, Indian and Chinese companies in South Africa (and the African continent in general) specialize in their areas of experience – services and manufacturing, respectively. So Indian companies are prominent in software and pharmaceutical sectors while Chinese companies are prominent in mining and infrastructure sectors. As such, there is little head-to-head competition between Indian and Chinese companies.

Like most others, Mr Das also felt that South African economy was not doing very well. The decline in commodity prices, driven by the slowdown of the Chinese economy, has hurt the mining sector, which is a major part of South African exports. The generalized global economic slowdown has adversely affected the manufacturing sectors, which constitutes almost 25% of the South African economy. The slowdown has opened up potential opportunities to purchase mineral resource assets cheaply in South Africa. Yet, Mr Das felt that because of its conservative attitude, Tata Group would not aggressively purchase mineral resource assets in South Africa.

To sum up, Tata Group typifies Indian engagement with South Africa – modest compared to China, led by private sector and prominent in services sector. 

Afternoon Meeting: South African Institute of International Affairs

After an eventful day speaking with researchers and industry leaders (and a much anticipated trip to the Apartheid Museum), our team returned to Wits University to speak with the South Africa Institution of International Affairs (SAIIA). We were met by SAIIA’s Chief Executive Elizabeth Sidiropoulos and researcher Yu-Shan Wu, who introduced us to the institution's work and answered our questions on South African international relations.
Sidiropoulos and Wu explained that SAIIA was founded alongside other research institutions including Chatham House, with the purpose of investigating three key areas:

1.     The engagement of emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil towards the African continent.
2.     Trends and policies of Africa’s regional powers
3.     South Africa’s foreign policy towards its neighbours

The BRICs in Africa
The scale of Chinese investment and trade in Africa far outpaces that of India and Brazil. However, Sidiropoulos and Wu explained that all three share an important role in African engagement. India and Brazil share language links and colonial history with some African countries, an advantage not held by China. Like China, their roles as partners of the Global South gives them a privileged position in South African foreign policy that can appear baffling to Western Countries.

According to SAIIA, Japanese representatives are continually puzzled by China’s strong reputation for building infrastructure and jobs given that these are areas Japanese companies have been involved in for a long time. Sidiropoulos similarly pointed out that if counted as a unit, the European Union would replace China as Africa’s largest trading partner. The majority of South Africa’s manufacturing exports are sent to the EU. Despite these facts the ANC’s ideology of anti-imperialism and support for the global south causes it to direct its energies towards countries like China and India.

 Both Sidiropoulos and Wu maintained that South Africa would start to focus on economic opportunities with countries including India and other new powers like Vietnam. They also explained that South Africa with its relatively advanced economy, has a different experience when dealing with fellow emerging markets. For example, contrary to the usual narrative, South African investments in China outweigh China’s in South Africa.

Africa’s Regional Powers
SAIIA’s work also looks at African countries that “stand out from the rest” due to military, economic or other reasons. Some like Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia are obvious choices, given their large economies and population. Others like Rwanda play outsized regional roles due to stability and a strong military. Most interestingly however, SAIIA also examines countries like Ghana, Senegal and Botswana. While none are very populous or regionally influential, these states stand out as exemplars and have drawn attention for good governance in a way that keeps them in the minds of investors and foreign powers.

South Africa in Africa
Finally, we asked SAIIA about South Africa’s foreign policy priorities, particularly in relation to other African countries. We came to the conclusion that Pretoria has not always managed its relationships with other African countries very well, and its Africa policy may suffer from a lack of focus. Sidiropoulos made reference to South Africa’s position in the African Union, which drew criticism from other countries particularly during the election of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as AU Chairperson. She also mentioned that reluctance to choose key partners prevented South Africa from building alliances for its goals. One example is in building capacity in the African Union, which currently lacks the capability to issue acceptable financial statements of its accounts. As top contributors to the AU, South Africa, Nigeria and others have a natural incentive to create this capacity but have yet to do so. Another example discussed was interregional trade where not enough progress has been made despite the Cape to Cairo free trade agreement of 2015. South Africa has not made a sustained effort in this area despite the fact that it is the most advanced economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and has significant opportunity to benefit from high value trade with its neighbours.

On the other hand, South Africa has made a role for itself in enforcing peace and security in Africa. It has been a significant contributor of peacekeepers particularly to the Democratic Republic of Congo, recognizing the potential for conflict there to inflame the whole continent as it did in the 90s. It has also played a role in mediating conflicts in the Great Lakes region, drawing from its own largely successful experience with conflict management and reconciliation. 

Following our meetings we headed to Katzy's in the Rosebank neighbourhood of Johannesburg to have dinner with SAIS alum Victor Abiola (SAIS '01).