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The Developmental Paradiplomacy of South African Provinces: Context, Scope and the Challenge of Coordination

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SummaryParadiplomacy, or the international relations of sub-national governments, has been a feature of South Africa’s international relations since 1995. However, despite a general recognition across all three spheres of government of the developmental value of the practice, aligning the paradiplomacy of most provincial and local governments to South Africa’s development and foreign policy priorities has remained an elusive goal.This article provides a rare insight into the paradiplomacy of South African provinces and explains why successive efforts at both the national and provincial levels to coordinate and rationalize paradiplomacy have been met with minimal success. It argues that although publicly acknowledging the potential benefits of paradiplomacy, national officials continue to harbour an attitude of ambivalence towards the international agency of provincial and local governments, which explains the half-hearted nature of most of the unsuccessful efforts to align paradiplomacy with South Africa’s foreign policy and national priorities. At the provincial level, efforts to manage paradiplomacy have largely been stymied by structural constraints that are embedded in South Africa’s constitutional framework, as well as an adverse political culture in the provinces.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Global Dialogue, University of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africafritz@igd.org.za

10.1163/1871191X-12341273
/content/journals/10.1163/1871191x-12341273
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/content/journals/10.1163/1871191x-12341273
2014-03-31
2016-12-04

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