The engagements had two key objectives. First, to contribute strategically to policy development and dissemination of policy recommendations on South Africa’s foreign and trade policies based on a 23-chapter book, South Africa’s Post-Apartheid Foreign Policy After Two Decades: Security, Diplomacy, and Trade (I.B. Tauris, 2018), edited by Adekeye Adebajo and Kudrat Virk. About 100 copies of the book were disseminated to policymakers at DIRCO and DTI. Second, both meetings sought to promote more qualitative dialogue between policymakers, academics, and civil society for mutual benefit. These goals were pursued in order to bridge the gap between theory and practice, as well as to encourage policymakers and academics to engage more constructively with South Africa’s foreign and trade policies.
The two strategic engagements were attended by 125 officials, and covered three broad thematic areas: Key Issues in South Africa’s Foreign Policy; South Africa’s Key Bilateral Diplomacy and Trade Relations in Eastern and West Africa; and South Africa’s Key Multilateral Trade and Diplomatic Relations involving the Southern African Development Community (SADC); the Southern African Customs Union (SACU); the African Union (AU); the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Group; the United Nations (UN); the European Union (EU); and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The two policy meetings further sought to contribute to strengthening the research capacity of senior policymakers in South Africa’s foreign and trade ministries. A major objective of both engagements was to craft more clearly defined, articulated, and supported foreign and trade policies that could help the South African government to promote domestic political consensus for achieving its policy goals, and harness its foreign and trade policies closer to the key goal of promoting socio-economic development at home.