South Africa’s foreign policy has undergone changes in the last 21 years of its democracy. At the crux of the current government’s foreign policy orientation is the promotion and advancement of Africa by addressing key challenges that the continent faces. This foreign policy leaning, which is referred to as the ‘Africa Agenda’, has been at the centre of the country’s international dealings in recent years. The Africa Agenda encompasses many crucial elements for the development of Africa, one of which is the promotion of peace and security on the continent.
This feature is particularly significant given the fact that the continent has witnessed an extensive amount of conflict and wars in the post-independence period. One country in particular that has experienced continuous warfare is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Home to over 60 million inhabitants, the DRC lies at the heart of the African continent and was the scene to one of the bloodiest conflicts in modern African history. The country underwent an arduous Peace Process that brought about an end to almost two decades of conflict. In concert with the international community at large, South Africa played a role in bringing an end to the war in the DRC by being directly involved in the Peace Process. South Africa facilitated the signing of the Global and All Inclusive Peace Accord on 17 December 2002 which paved the way for the first democratic elections to take place in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006.
With reference to the Africa Agenda, this study aims to analyze what the outcome of the DRC Peace Process reveals about South Africa’s Afro-centric foreign policy in general and its peace and security goal in particular.
The study reveals that South Africa has pursued its African Agenda out of its inherent commitment and attachment to the African continent. In addition, the study reveals that by promoting peace and security on the continent, South Africa acknowledges the fact that socio-economic development on the continent is dependent on the existence of peace and stability. The study also highlights the fact that if South Africa wishes to continue to take credit for its role as ‘Africa’s Peacemaker’, foreign policy decision makers need to ensure that there is continuity both in the manner in which it implements its foreign policy as well as in its dealings with the rest of the continent.
Key Terms: Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy Analysis, South Africa, Africa Agenda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Peace Process, Peace, Stability, Security, Identity, Africa.