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  • Author: Frederik Stender, Axel Berger, Clara Brandi, Jakob Schwab
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This study provides early ex-post empirical evidence on the effects of provisionally applied Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) on two-way trade flows between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). Employing the gravity model of trade, we do not find a general EPA effect on total exports from ACP countries to the EU nor on total exports from the EU to ACP countries. We do, however, find heterogeneous effects when focusing on specific agreements and economic sectors. While the agreement between the EU and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), which concluded several years ahead of the other EPAs in 2008, if anything, reduced imports from the EU overall, the provisional application of the other EPAs seems to have at least partly led to increased imports from the EU to some partner countries. More specifically, the estimation results suggest an increase in the total imports from the EU only in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) EPA partner countries. On the sectoral level, by comparison, we find increases in the EU’s agricultural exports to SADC, Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and the Pacific. Lastly, in the area of manufactures trade, we find decreases of exports of the ESA and SADC countries to the EU, but increases in imports from the EU into SADC countries. While this early assessment of the EPA effects merits attention given the importance of monitoring future implications of these agreements, it is still too early for a final verdict on the EPAs’ effects and future research is needed to investigate the mid- and long-term consequences of these agreements.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Manufacturing, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, South Africa, Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, European Union
  • Author: Elizabeth Sidiropoulos
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: South Africa’s engagement in global development structures has evolved since 1994, when the country re-entered the international community. The historical philosophical underpinnings of the African National Congress, the governing party, aimed to reaffirm the country’s place in the Global South and African firmament after the end of apartheid. This understanding is necessary in the context of South Africa’s priorities over the past 25 years, not least in the development debates. The last two decades have seen significant attempts to develop global norms that tackle the serious developmental challenges faced by developing countries. The paper explores these initiatives and divides them into three streams – those undertaken by the United Nations, those begun by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD-DAC), and those that may be understood as part of club governance processes (such as the G20, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), and the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA). South Africa’s engagement in these global development structures is analysed, along with its contribution to the evolution of African agency on the issues of global development. South Africa has strongly criticised existing power relations while undertaking strategic engagements with the North, centred on the vision of an African renaissance and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development initiative. The country has consistently argued that Northern aid cannot be put on the same platform as South-South Cooperation as they have different origins. Other African states and continental institutions have also ramped up their engagement on global development and development cooperation in recent years, which the paper also explores. While South Africa has always identified Africa as a core pillar of its foreign policy, its interests have not always cohered with those of the rest of the continent. Lastly, the paper explores possible avenues that South Africa might pursue in the current polarised multilateral environment. Its biggest challenge is the tension regarding its Global South identity, which has to balance its commitment to African issues and institutional processes, and its positioning via its membership of the BRICS as an emerging power that seeks to contest the current global power configurations.
  • Topic: Development, United Nations, Multilateralism, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Wallace Cheng, Clara Brandi
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Digitalisation is transforming the economy and redefining trade. Recently, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have started to discuss how trade policies and rules should be adapted to address this transformation. For example, in January 2019, 76 WTO members announced the launch of “negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce”. The scope of these e-commerce negotiations is yet to be defined, but to ban tariffs on electronic trans­missions will certainly be on the priority list of WTO members such as the United States (US) and the European Union (EU). The idea of banning tariffs on electronic transmission originated at the WTO’s Ministerial Conference (MC) in 1998, when Members declared that they would “continue their current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions”. This temporary moratorium on e-commerce tariffs needs to be regularly extended, requiring a decision made “by consensus”. Members have repeatedly extended the moratorium on tariffs on “electronic trans­missions”, most recently at the latest WTO MC in 2017. But the WTO e-commerce moratorium is increasingly disputed: First, while net exporters of digital products and services, typically industrialised countries, understand the tariff ban to apply to digital content, net importers interpret it as referring only to electronic carriers (e.g. CDs, electronic bits), which means that they regard themselves as permitted to impose customs duties on the content of online trade. Second, while net exporters like the US and the EU propose a permanent ban on e-commerce tariffs in order to provide greater certainty to consumers and business, arguing that the resulting revenue losses are small, net importers like India and South Africa underline that they suffer much greater revenue losses than industrialised countries and have to bear the brunt of the moratorium. Third, while industrialised countries argue that the ban on tariffs on electronic transmissions would reduce market distortions, developing countries are concerned that a permanent moratorium would limit their options to protect domestic products and services traded online. Fourth, the moratorium has stirred a debate about how to create a level playing field between domestic and foreign suppliers of digital products and services.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, World Trade Organization, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: India, South Africa, United States of America, European Union