Is South Africa a norm entrepreneur in Africa?


In the early post-apartheid years, South Africa was seen as a leader in Africa, setting the norms for moral and principled international engagement and interventions on the continent. South Africa’s strong leadership principles were reflected in its efforts to reform the continental institutions, to mediate for peace and stability and to promote democracy in a number of conflict-ridden countries. In the past these contributions to the continent’s development earned South Africa status as a ‘norm entrepreneur’. Today, however, questions are being asked about South Africa’s willingness to uphold the freedoms and democratic gains made on the continent. Its foreign-policy approach, with the rest of the continent, has become inward-looking, economically pragmatic and less principled. South Africa needs to regain its status as champion of peace and democracy in Africa.

About the author

Liesl Louw-Vaudran is an ISS consultant and author of South Africa in Africa: Superpower or neocolonialist? (Tafelberg, May 2016), a book that deals with South Africa’s role on the continent since the end of apartheid. Louw-Vaudran is also editor of the ISS’s Peace and Security Council Report.

Picture: ©Nico Meyer/ISS

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