Toward a National Strategy and Development Council: The Foreign Policy Dimension

This policy brief is intended to be illustrative of how South African governance and statecraft can be strengthened. Overcoming siloed bureaucratic and institutional challenges in South African foreign policy-making could be achieved through an institutionalised-type council that serves as a model that builds towards an overarching mechanism for strategic implementation. Hence, the creation of a National Strategy and Development Council (NSDC) located in the presidency. As a semi-developed economy (with a significant ‘first world’ sector of sophisticated urban-industrial, manufacturing and financial infrastructure amid a majority underdeveloped socio-economic sector of widespread poverty), foreign policy should be integrated within a much broader multi-sectoral national security and developmental strategic framework. This can be achieved through the proposed NSDC in the presidency, which should include an IRTS directorate that, in turn, is complemented by a revived but independent SACOIR-like council. This briefing explores some of the thinking behind the structuring of national strategy pertaining to foreign policy and national security. It ultimately advocates for an institutionalised approach that may implement state macro-economic planning from a foreign policy perspective (including economic-cum-developmental diplomacy) that would more effectively complement the developmental state strategy.