n Journal for Contemporary History - South Africa in the international Arms Trade Network (ATN) during ANC rule (1994-present) : a network analysis

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



Network theory has become a key theoretical framework with which to study complex systems, and a large number of studies have investigated the structure of the World Trade Network (WTN) within this paradigm. This article follows Akerman and Larsson-Seim (2014) in investigating South Africa's position in the international Arms Trade Network (ATN) from 1994 to the present within the framework of network theory and by using data provided by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Using centrality measures such as degree, betweenness, closeness, and in- and out-degree, the article shows that South Africa is a relatively important role player in this trade network, and specifically as an arms exporter. It is also discussed how South Africa's position changed under the leadership of consecutive presidents, and it is shown that the country became more active during the presidencies of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma than it was under Nelson Mandela.

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