Foreign Policy for South Africa: Discussion document | South African Government
In the period of , the relationship between Mexico and South Africa was characterized by a high political level of dialogue and broad. all the dimensions of foreign policy and South Africa's international relations. . cone of South America while the USA, Canada and Mexico formed NAFTA. Mexico–South Africa relations refers to the diplomatic relations between Mexico and South Africa. Both nations are members of the G major economies and.
An awareness should be fostered in this regard among South African institutions and private companies. The electronics revolution and information super-highway Modern electronic communication systems have increased the volume of information available as well as the speed and ease with which government leaders can make contact with each other.
The use of the Internet, computers, modems and other devices enables delegations at conferences and ministries to remain in constant contact with principals. While these facilities may not affect the substance of policy, they have had an influence on the speed with which consultations take place as well as on the nature of foreign policy making and the execution of policy.
This technology poses particular challenges in the field of inter-governmental contact and relationships between political leaders. In the African context, a good information and communication system would be a crucial element in preventive diplomacy and the process of peace-making.
For SADC countries, the imaginative use of communication systems could bring substantial benefits. The growing gap between North and South The gap in economic and general wealth between the industrialised countries of the North and the developing nations of the South, has been the subject of many studies and conferences.
There is a growing belief that present developments such as the lowering of tariffs and trade barriers are only benefiting the North with its strong industrial base and its wealthy consumers, and that the trend is towards fewer advantages for developing countries and a consequent widening of the North-South gap. The "Midrand Declaration" which was adopted at the ninth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on 11 May referred to this perception.
It acknowledged that increased globalisation and economic interdependence is a powerful impetus to liberalisation of trade flows, finance, information and technological change, but warned that the impact of globalisation is uneven, and that the least developed countries, particularly those in Africa, are unable to benefit from trade because of weak supply capabilities.
The declaration, noting that it was in the interest of all countries that a mutually beneficial multilateral trading system continues to develop, called for the recognition of differential impacts on countries and the solidarity necessary to ensure that all would benefit - a true partnership for development.
South Africa, as a country firmly placed in the South, geographically and developmentally, has to be aware of the risks of marginalisation in a trade sense. Sound cooperation with other countries of the South and with clients and suppliers in the North, should be an integral part of foreign policy and of economic policy.
Minister Nzo formulated South Africa's position as follows in March It is truly at the point of intersection between both worlds - an industrialised state of the South which can communicate with the North on equal terms to articulate the needs, the concerns and the fears of the developing world.
Conversely we can interpret the concerns and the fears of the developed world. The United States of America and the other G7 countries constitute the undeniable economic power base of the world today.
These countries are essential to the economic well-being of the developing world, including South and Southern Africa.
Furthermore, the G7 countries have been most supportive of the Government of National Unity and have been generous in their commitment to our economic success. For this we are grateful, and we will continue to build on this sound foundation in the future. Growing complexity of technological issues Countries poor in natural resources such as Japan and Switzerland have proved that they can compete in the industrial race because of their early investment in human resources through education and training.
In many developed countries, while there is annual economic growth, a decline in the number of jobs has been experienced. This trend has enormous long-term implications for countries, both economically and socially. The number of unemployed or retired people increases annually and these people will become such a heavy responsibility for national governments that the problem will take on an international dimension.
South Africa will not be able to escape some of these problems and early monitoring of these eventualities and international cooperation will become important. The trend will affect the mobility of labour, especially the categories of highly skilled technicians, scientists, engineers and managers. Within the SADC context, South Africa will have to develop programmes to promote technical and scientific education to cope with the demands of the next few decades.
Benefiting from the experience of other countries should be part of the strategy. Focus on good governance, human rights and democratisation: International organisations and governments all over the world increasingly place a high premium on the performance of countries and governments in these areas. Development assistance is, in many cases, linked to democratisation programmes, the observance of human rights and the exercise of good government.
South Africa's own recent experience in this field makes it an example many refer to as a model. Many governments expect South Africa's adherence to these principles and values to be an example to other countries in Africa and elsewhere, inspiring them to democratise and to improve their human rights record. Redefining security issues Security issues fall within the field of foreign policy and international relations, where they affect relations between states and influence the promotion of the national interests of countries in the international sphere.
They extend much farther than defence matters. In recent years new dimensions have become increasingly important in international security; these include regional conflict resolution and peace-keeping, drug trafficking, illegal arms trading, non-proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, migration and refugees. Several aspects of this will be discussed in the rest of this paper. It is important, however, to recognise this as an important international trend which affects, in a very direct sense, the formulation of foreign policy and the promotion of good international relations.
Introductory remarks The need for a codified foreign policy and an assessment of current foreign policy has been the subject of deliberation for some time. Referring to the principles of South Africa's foreign policy see 8. They also serve as a yardstick by which the quality of our practical foreign policy decisions may be measured, and are consequently a very useful policy tool.
It is when we move beyond this level of policy consideration that we have to ask ourselves to what extent does South Africa require a codified foreign policy doctrine; and what means do we have to ensure that such a doctrine would be attainable and if necessary, enforceable?
This is a complex question which I would encourage you to address during the course of your deliberations this week. In essence we have to answer the question of whether our current foreign policy, in which each decision is made on its merits within a prescribed normative framework, is adequate enough for our circumstances.
That environment has evolved over time and since the recent demise of the Cold-War-driven bipolar world, has started taking on a new shape which is not yet clearly defined.
Mexico–South Africa relations
The earlier discussion of trends was an attempt to survey the general nature of the global environment. The relatively insecure, flexible and still evolving nature of the new global environment provides a favourable climate for South Africa to adopt a more pro-active and assertive foreign policy posture.
While South Africa has to maximise political and economic benefits for the country in the existing global environment, opportunities exist and should be actively pursued to change those aspects of the present global environment which are not favourable to South Africa and Southern Africa.
This means that South Africa should, in multilateral forums and through bilateral negotiations, aspire to amend the rules formulated in the past by specific interest groups, whether political or institutional. This approach does not imply a confrontational stance towards the major economic powers of the world or towards international organisations such as the WTO, the IMF or the United Nations.
Instead, it implies engaging them, with the active participation of other interested nations, in a thorough analysis of the systems and rules created over time. There is a perception arising from OECD, World Bank and other studies that these do not benefit developing nations and new economies of the South but rather tend towards entrenching the dominant position of the North.
This approach must not take on the dimensions of an ideological struggle between North and South, but should be an honest search for equitable solutions to the problems of the present-day global situation. To sum up, South Africa needs to develop a pro-active foreign policy approach, within its means, to achieve strategic objectives which benefit the people and the country in general as much as possible.
Principles and cornerstones Foreign policy is a multidimensional set of policies, objectives, principles, strategies and plans which cannot easily be packaged into a neatly described "formula". It is also not always practical to distinguish between aspirations, general objectives and underlying philosophy.
Nevertheless, it is important to consider in broad terms the general orientation of South Africa's policies. A broad approach, supported by a range of more detailed and sometimes complex components, forms the policy framework adopted in this discussion document. Are there no other principles or cornerstones which should be considered?
The present policy and execution of policy represent a break with the past. Foreign policy is an integrated part of government policy aimed at promoting the security and welfare of South Africa's citizens. Exercising regular choices between available options in the international arena based on South Africa's interests and means is a part of the foreign policy process.
South Africa is a democratic country and the formulation of foreign policy should be an open and transparent process. However, South African actions must be in keeping with international practice, including the need for appropriate confidentiality.
Diplomacy is by its very nature "quiet diplomacy" and not diplomacy through the media. Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and other officials representing South Africa abroad must be fully acquainted with the policies and strategies of domestic departments in order to pursue the national interest in all spheres.
South Africa must strive to be a responsible global citizen.
btcmu.info and Mexico to deepen trade relations - CNBC Africa
South Africa supports the global free trade system. North-South and South-South cooperation will be promoted. South Africa must associate itself with international efforts to develop and implement environmentally friendly policies. South Africa adheres to the philosophy of non-alignment and friendly, constructive relations with all nations, that is, universality of relations. Multilateral cooperation at all required levels is essential and is supported by South Africa. A holistic approach should be pursued wherever possible.
The United Nations should be reformed and strengthened to enable it to deal with matters such as global economic and environmental challenges and the achievement of sustainable development.
Foreign policy objective should seek to promote mutual benefits and mutual respect in bilateral relations. South Africa should deal with African partners as equals and avoid all hegemonic ambitions. A narrow, short term approach aimed at promoting self-interest must be avoided. Confidence-building and cooperation should be prominent trends of South Africa's African policy. Peace-making and conflict-prevention should receive priority consideration.
South Africa will cooperate with all other countries in shaping and defining the new world order and promoting multilateral cooperation in the international community.
Scientific and technical development and cooperation in Antarctica and globally, will be promoted and environmental protection will be supported. As far as South Africa's means allow, all efforts to alleviate the plight of refugees and children in Africa and elsewhere and particularly the work of the UNHCR must be supported. South Africa should remain actively engaged in efforts to secure world-wide peace, promote disarmament, prevent genocide, restrict proliferation of nuclear and other arms of mass destruction and achieve a new world security regime.
South Africa's international priorities In his address to the Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee of Parliament on 14 MarchMinister Alfred Nzo made the following observations about South Africa's foreign policy objectives and priorities: Achieving sustainable economic growth in South Africa is a government priority and its international dimension is important for all departments and government agencies involved.Thrilling goal and an opener for all time
To attain the objectives which government departments are expected to achieve, proper coordination at the policy and working levels is essential and it is important to work towards an integrated "economic foreign policy". The global economic environment is a fiercely competitive and complex arena in which South Africa is a relatively small economic power.
Policies should therefore be formulated to achieve sound priorities. Minister Nzo made the following observation in Parliament on 8 August about South Africa's international relations: In this regard the Department of Foreign Affairs, universities, institutes and the media have a particular responsibility to stimulate a debate on our international relations, to inform the public and involve the people of South Africa in the promotion of our international relations.
As members of the Southern African Development Community and the OAU, and an equal partner with other member states, we will play our role in the struggles of these organisations to build a continent and a region that will help to create for themselves and all humanity a common world of peace and prosperity.
It should be added that much of the action suggested above will take place against the background of the United Nations' own political objectives and operations, including peace, prosperity, economic well-being and respect for human rights. Peace-making and conflict prevention are two essential elements of the strategy which is under review, also in the OAU. Interface with economic and defence policies The discussion on South Africa's priorities clearly highlights the integrated nature of the challenges facing South Africa in the global and African contexts.
To be effective, South Africa must progressively harmonise the policies and strategic objectives which are formulated and pursued by government departments. The private sector and labour also have roles to play in certain areas and in this regard NEDLAC and several other existing coordination forums play important roles.
Foreign policy and defence policy are two components of a country's approach to the global environment. In the introductory parts of this discussion paper, reference was made to the new world order, to important trends in security-related issues and to the changing dimensions of the multipolar world.
Proper coordination of a country's policies on security matters is therefore an obvious necessity. In the African context South Africa's involvement in conflict prevention and peace-keeping requires harmonised foreign and defence policies. International arms sales by South Africa and the country's commitment to the prevention of the proliferation of conventional and nuclear arms, also require the harmonising of the defence and foreign policies of South Africa.
This is achieved through committees, at ministerial and official level, which have been created by Government to oversee policies and actions in this regard.
Relative importance of technical disciplines In the SADC, in the OAU context, and in a host of international organisations the major subjects of discussion are water, civil aviation, health, weights and measures, intellectual property, shipping, nuclear research and many other technical and scientific topics.
Wherever a governmental or nongovernmental representative of South Africa participates in an international activity, conference or project, he or she becomes involved in the execution of some aspect of foreign policy. Minister Alfred Nzo, in his speech to ambassadors in September emphasized that Interaction with civil society and interest groups In the preceding paragraphs reference was made to the many role players in South Africa's international interaction.
On the domestic front, civil society, local authorities, special interest groups and many others have some role to play in enabling the Department of Foreign Affairs to give the Government comprehensive, well-considered and practical advice. The process of policy formulation must be as transparent as possible to ensure maximum support for the Government's international activities.
In addition to its ever-increasing interaction with Parliament, universities and institutions, the Department of Foreign Affairs should actively stimulate debate on international affairs and foreign policy. Expanded interaction with interested parties can be achieved by means of domestic seminars and conferences, as well as through interaction with foreign organisations and governments in the context of international conferences held in South Africa.
Further mechanisms can be explored. South Africa's limitations and strengths Minister Alfred Nzo and Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad have often stated in parliamentary and other speeches that South Africa's initiatives in Africa in particular and internationally in general should take place within the realistic parameters of South Africa's capacity to implement decisions.
They have also stated that foreign policy should be formulated against the background of what South Africa can realistically hope to achieve. Apart from global constraints, budgetary restrictions placed on the Department of Foreign Affairs and other departments also play a role. This limits South Africa's membership of international organisations, the number of embassies the Department is able to establish abroad and the number of personnel assigned abroad, to mention a few areas.
Foreign Policy for South Africa: Discussion document
Active participation in those forums where South Africa can play a meaningful role and where the country has real interests should therefore be a priority.
Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, in a speech to the Senate on 25 Mayformulated the relative priorities of South Africa's international initiatives within the context of limited resources as follows: The challenge of multilateralism Earlier the growing role of multilateralism was discussed as a trend.
It also constitutes a challenge to develop expertise in a specialised and highly technical area. Such global issues include economic and social development, human rights, disarmament, environmental issues, control of illicit drug trafficking, refugees and migration, peacekeeping and global security.
There is also an interplay of bilateral relations between two countries and their actions towards each other in a multilateral context. Support of a candidate in one organisation may result in a favourable bilateral action, more trade credits or more development assistance. Countries and especially delegates are often faced with a barrage of requests for a vote of support for issues or candidates 'in the interest of bilateral relations'.
Trade-offs are not uncommon. Sensible handling of these situations requires early consultation and the developing of practical criteria to facilitate and justify decisions.
Issues relating to the protection of the environment as well as issues relating to the quality of life, have become justifiably all-important. Linked to this are issues such as refugees, children, women, human rights and migration. South Africa has become actively involved in these areas and will continue to be faced with the need to develop capacities to interact at an international level.
Conflict prevention and peace-making are of substantial concern to South Africa in the African context, just as peace-keeping and peace-making in Bosnia are to the UN and to the Europeans. Preventive diplomacy has become an essential and fundamental consideration in the international context for political leaders and diplomats. Once conflict occurs, diplomacy is faced with a new challenge, which is more difficult, traumatic and costly - both materially and in terms of human life - namely devising appropriate peace-making and peace-keeping operations.
The regional group to which a country belongs often plays a fundamental role in multilateral diplomacy.
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On many issues, such as on tariffs and on trade and industrial policy, South Africa consults with SA Customs Union member states before making commitments in negotiations with the EU.
SADC countries as a regional group should also be consulted on broader policy issues. It is sometimes a time consuming procedure with mixed results. African partners may even be in conflict with South Africa's other international commitments or fundamental policies, for example on arms control or the control of advanced technologies. These aspects require extensive and regular consultation and are a multilateral challenge. Multilateral policy and objectives Multilateral relations focus on global issues.
South Africa's participation in and interaction with the organisations which deal with such issues are the substance of multilateral diplomacy.
Global issues have domestic relevance and the role that South Africa seeks to play in the development of international thinking in these areas must be related not only to our international objectives but also to domestic policies.
Some of the issues which need to be further analysed and developed are referred to below: The foreign policy of a democratic South Africa is characterised by rapid change.
The concept of the traditional nation state is changing, with most countries constantly losing some degree of sovereignty, especially in the multilateral context.
The example of European countries losing sovereignty to the EU was cited earlier in the document. South Africa is, to some extent, also affected. There is a need to increase the awareness of the importance of multilateralism as a major facet of both South Africa's international relations and policy planning. Bilateral missions abroad should also focus on multilateral issues in formulating their objectives and should forge a link between bilateral and multilateral relations.
The international community is expecting South Africa to assume an important role in some organisations and there is the perception that South Africa has the necessary power, capacity and prestige to fulfil this role.
Opportunities must be identified where South Africa can play a role in the development of thinking on international issues. Regular analyses of South Africa's relations and cooperation with regional groupings and blocs should be made to achieve policy consistency. South Africa should apply the criteria of national interest, capabilities and feasibility in deciding on the country's participation in UN peace-keeping, peace-making and peace-enforcement operations in a regional or global context.
This issue will require wider discussion with other government departments and with OAU partners. South Africa should wholeheartedly support this recommendation and commit itself to its approval by the SADC summit in August The Organ will provide an important forum within which issues such as political dialogue, the strengthening of democracy and threats to the peace and stability of the sub-region can be addressed.
South Africa should engage in the debate on the various aspects of the reform and financing of the UN. The Government has committed itself to a policy of non-proliferation and arms control which covers all weapons of mass destruction and extends to concerns relating to the proliferation of conventional weapons.
A primary goal of this policy is to reinforce and promote South Africa as a responsible producer, possessor and trader of advanced technologies in the nuclear, biological, chemical and conventional arms fields. To this end, a new conventional arms control system has been established; participation in the various non-proliferation regimes and suppliers' groups is actively being pursued; and positions which publicly support the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction have been adopted.
The new global situation, more than ever before, requires South African foreign and defence policy to be harmonised in a comprehensive security policy.
Involvement in more political international forums such as the UN, the NAM, the G77 and the Commonwealth, however, requires preparations and deliberations of a different nature. Consistent and comprehensive policies linked to priorities will have to be developed as South Africa experiences more high-level involvement. South Africa must recognise that it has limited experience at the OAU and that it should develop an understanding of the functioning of that organisation.
A number of power centres exist in the OAU and on the Continent. A matter of future importance will be the reform of multilateral organisations such as the UN and the OAU. A clear strategy on this must be developed and South Africa will need to interact with our OAU partners.
Many member nations are appreciative of South Africa's growing contribution to this debate. Solidarity with the hopes and aspirations of Africa should be the watchword. South Africa has a leadership role to play in the SADC and in the NAM and a clear vision as well as a set of objectives for that role should be developed. South Africa has a role to play in the debate on the issue of economic growth and development in a world economy which is becoming increasingly liberalised and globalised.
Known as "mulattos," "pardos," or "zambos," many of them were either born free or in time acquired their liberty.
As in the rest of the Americas, slavery in Mexico exacted a severe physical and psychological price from its victims. Abuse was a constant part of a slave's existence; resisting oppression often meant torture, mutilation, whipping, or being put in confinement.
Death rates were high, especially for slaves in the silver mines and on the sugar plantations. Yet, for the most part, their spirits were never broken and many fled to establish settlements "palenques" in remote areas of the country. These fugitives were a constant thorn in the side of slave owners.
The most renowned group of "maroons," as they were called, escaped to the mountains near Veracruz. Unable to defeat these intrepid Africans, the colonists finally recognized their freedom and allowed them to build and administer their own town.
Today, their leader, Yanga, remains a symbol of black resistance in Mexico. Other slaves rebelled or conspired to.
The first conspiracy on record took place inand these assaults on the system grew more frequent as the black population increased. Regardless of the form it took--escape or rebellion--resistance demonstrated an angry defiance of the status quo and the slaves' desire to reclaim their own lives. As such, black resistance occupies a special place in Mexico's revolutionary tradition, a tradition that is a source of pride for many Mexicans.
Beyond that, Africans in Mexico left their cultural and genetic imprint everywhere they lived. In states such as Veracruz, Guerrero, and Oaxaca, the descendants of Africa's children still bear the evidence of their ancestry. No longer do they see themselves as Mandinga, Wolof, Ibo, Bakongo, or members of other African ethnic groups; their self identity is Mexican, and they share much with other members of their nation-state. Yet their cultural heritage has not entirely disappeared.
Some African traditions survive in song, music, dance, and other ways. But much has changed since slavery ended, and it is difficult for a small minority to maintain its traditions in a constantly changing society. As their ancestors did, the few remaining persons who are visibly of African descent continue to be productive members of society. But history has not been kind to the achievements of African peoples in Mexico.