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Dossier | L'aide bousculée. Pays émergents et politiques globales

Emerging ‘Donor’, Geopolitical Actor: South Africa in the Global Terrain

Elizabeth Sidiropoulos
L’Afrique du Sud sur l’échiquier mondial : "donateur" émergent et acteur géopolitique [fr]


Published by Palgrave Macmillan

An active participant in the various global debates and motivated by a desire to address global inequalities and power imbalances in rule-making, South Africa seeks to balance its domestic imperatives with an enlightened developmentally-minded foreign policy where Africa is the priority. Since 1994 South Africa has initiated many activities that may be described as development cooperation. However, with the exception of the African Renaissance Fund (ARF), it has lacked an overarching architecture for its assistance, which has been fragmented among various departments and agencies with very little coherence, bar their focus on Africa.

The establishment of the South African Development Partnership Agency (SADPA) within the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) by the first half of 2012 is poised to address many of these shortcomings, ensuring greater intragovernmental coordination and evaluation. In embarking on this path, South Africa will engage more in the future structure of international development, arguing for a broader definition of development cooperation and a framework that has evolved with input from the South. The fluidity in global development provides an opportunity for South Africa to help bridge the divide between North and South, and encourage policy innovation in the aid debate.

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Cite this article

Electronic reference

Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, “Emerging ‘Donor’, Geopolitical Actor: South Africa in the Global Terrain”International Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement [Online], 3 | 2012, Online since 27 March 2012, connection on 21 September 2021. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Elizabeth Sidiropoulos

National Director of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), an independent foreign policy think-tank based in Johannesburg. She has headed the Institute since 2005. Before her current appointment she was Director of Studies at SAIIA from 1999 to April 2005. She was previously Research Director at the South African Institute of Race Relations, and editor of the highly acclaimed Race Relations Survey (now the South Africa Survey). She is the editor-in-chief of the South African Journal of International Affairs. Her research focus is South Africa’s foreign policy, global governance and the role of emerging powers in Africa. She is currently working on an edited volume on ‘Development Cooperation and Emerging Powers’ that focuses on the evolving aid policies of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

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International Development Policy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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