n Conflict Trends - South Africa and South-South approaches to post-conflict development in Africa

Volume 2014, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


Since 1994, promoting cordial and strategic relations with other countries in the Global South has been a key objective of South Africa's foreign policy. Until recently, the pursuit of this goal appears to have dovetailed well with South Africa's ambitions to play a leadership role in the stabilisation of Africa and catalysing the continent's socioeconomic development. The apparent complementarity in the advancement of these two foreign policy objectives is captured in the claim contained in the 2014 election manifesto of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, which asserts: "In the last 20 years... we have advanced the African agenda for peace and development while contributing to south-south cooperation." However, the current global realignment of power, represented by the growing political, economic and development influence of new actors in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and their active engagement on the continent, has dispelled any notion of a natural complementarity between South-South cooperation and the promotion of peace and development in Africa. This article reflects on the dilemma inherent in a foreign policy that prioritises the promotion of both South-South cooperation and peaceful and sustainable development in Africa, within the context of the growing hierarchisation of the Global South and the so-called 'new scramble for Africa'. With a focus on peacebuilding and post-conflict development, it argues that South-South cooperation comes with both opportunities and challenges to the advancement of South Africa's interests on the continent. Consequently, South Africa's approach to South-South cooperation must be as pragmatic as it should be strategic.

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