The international geo-political and economic environment is currently experiencing unprecedented change. Challenges facing South Africa’s private sector include increased competition and accessing market space on the continent. In order to improve South Africa’s participation in the global economy and address the complex socio-economic challenges facing the country domestically, stakeholder relations on a macro-, micro-, and meso-level need to be coordinated more strategically. DIRCO and the DTI have acknowledged the role of diplomacy in supporting the country’s economic objectives and have various policies supporting their respective roles. However, a national, coordinated strategy between the numerous stakeholders conducting commercial diplomacy does not exist. Gains achieved by the private sector trading and investing on the continent have thus far been achieved despite services rendered by officials in South African missions. The current lack of collaboration between the various South African stakeholders is explored, both in literature addressing the phenomenon of commercial diplomacy as well as through twenty-five stakeholder interviews. Examples of where collaborative approaches do successfully exist between government departments and business are also provided. This is done through considering the approaches of other governments as well as business forums utilised by some missions. A thematic analysis conducted on how the various stakeholders at a macro-, micro- and meso-level view their current status of collaboration revealed both complementary and contradictory perceptions. Whereas most research findings emphasised the need expressed by business for greater collaboration and professional service from South African missions, diplomats raised the training required in specialised economic skills and the reorganisation of government structures. Areas for possible further research include commercial diplomacy on the African continent and utilising business forums as a form of stakeholder collaboration.
Mini Dissertation (MDips)--University of Pretoria, 2019.