South Africa: Optimising the Currency of Soft Power in the International Arena

"A conscious and consistent adherence to the currency of soft power could enable South Africa to push through a national, an African and a more humane global agenda of immense magnitude in the overall international arena. However, effective communication is critical for the maximisation of soft-power attributes, as there is a symbiotic relationship between domestic and foreign policy. With reference to South Africa’s pledge of US$2 billion (R16,5 billion) at the G20 meeting in June 2012 to the firewall fund of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the recent election of Dr Dlamini-Zuma, in July 2012, as chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, this policy brief gives an outline of how South Africa can optimise its soft-power attributes within the shifting global order. This policy brief puts forward the view that South Africa’s soft power cannot be evaluated without looking at the country’s history, its multilateral diplomacy, engagement with civil society and the media, trade relations and domestic politics. This policy brief recommends that the South African Government needs to have the support of its diverse population in order to be able to use soft power. The government must ensure that the majority of the population that lives in poverty fully enjoys the benefits of democracy, freedom, human dignity and technological development to fight poverty and inequality, not only in South Africa but in Africa and the developing world."