International Politics

International Politics

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If some of the most powerful twenty countries in the world are committed to building cooperation with Africa then the best way to do this is allowing Africans to set the agenda and to be at the table as an equal partner.

Informed by the discussions at an international conference jointly organised by the German Development Institute, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Stanford University on “Emerging Power or Fading Star? South Africa’s Role on the Continent and Beyond”, held 12–14 July 2016 in Cape Town, the articles gathered in this edition of Perspectives shed light on some of the nuances and challenges that define South Africa’s place in the world today.

Informed by the discussions at an international conference on ‘Emerging Power or Fading Star? South Africa’s Role on the Continent and Beyond’, 12-14 July in Cape Town, this summary report sheds light on some of the shades of grey that define South Africa’s role and place in the world today.

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For civil society agendas in support of sustainable development, human rights, and accountable and participatory governance, the increased involvement of institutional investors in infrastructure projects raises a number of issues.

Hidden among the maze of more than 400 paragraphs of guidance, there are a number of points that, when viewed collectively, paint quite a disturbing picture, one that would substantially alter the way common citizens may think about infrastructure and their rights as citizens. 

Development Finance

The mega-infrastructure and investment agenda is here to stay, whether we like it or not. It is a powerful consensus, hard to tackle in an effective way. The key question for civil society remains how to build its own social infrastructure, brick by brick, territory by territory, without short-cuts or easy solutions, in order to  build structural power and present positive alternatives to key actors, especially democratic governments.  

Development Finance in BRICS Countries

For decades, the world of development banking was dominated by a few multilateral actors, foremost the World Bank Group as well as regional development banks. In recent years, some established banks have much expanded their scope of operation, while new actors and interests are moving in. A number of national development banks, for example from China and Brazil, have entered the international arena in a big way, often operating far outside of their respective home countries and becoming truly global actors.

 "Assembly Lines" for Project Development: The Role of Infrastructure Project Preparation Facilities (PPFs)

Some claim that the biggest obstacle to boosting investment levels and reviving the global economy as the absence of regional "pipelines of bankable projects". In this paper, Nora Rohde describes the "solution" --Project Preparation Facilities (PPFs) to accelerate the launch of (mega)projects.

Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa

Dr. Mzukisi Qobo describes PIDA's plan to double levels of investment in energy, water, and transportation mega-projects in Africa and the opportunities and risks these projects present for infrastructure investors and, especially, for Africans.  He cites six categories of risk (political; social and environmental; fiscal; security; institutional; and technical) and asks the big question: will PIDA accelerate the colonial patterns of resource extraction or foster the economic diversification required for Africa to prosper and expand job opportunities.

BRICS leaders in Brazil

Creating infrastructure for the New Development Bank is a milestone for Brics, writes Sanusha Naidu.

The G20’s Energy Infrastructure Plans for Africa: What is Missing?

The G20’s commitment to conventional solutions obscures the possibility of other alternatives. Even though the alternatives present challenges in terms of replication, cost, and scale, the G20 summit in Mexico in June 2012 should re-cast the criteria for selecting and financing energy projects to highlight modular, renewable energy solutions.

What we do

This component of our work aims to inject questions of human rights, sustainable development, good governance and gender equality into discourses around African international relations and global governance. We are especially interested in South Africa’s and other emerging powers’ roles on the continent and beyond. We regularly host international conferences and support research on these and related issues, often in cooperation with our sister offices in the global South.

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