The janus faces of a middle power: South Africa's emergence in international development

Yanacopulos, Helen (2014). The janus faces of a middle power: South Africa's emergence in international development. Journal of Southern African Studies, 40(1) pp. 203–216.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2013.860715

Abstract

South Africa’s rising international presence is undeniable. The country has recently joined the BRICS club of powerful emerging countries, is in the G20, a member of IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum) and has been touted as a possible contender in a potentially reformed UN Security Council. Also, South Africa has set up a new International Development agency, a key marker of a middle power. Yet South Africa is not a typical middle power, as half of South Africans live below the poverty line. Through various methods such as print and online media content analysis and interviews with policy makers, journalists, civil society and international donors during the period between 2009-2011, this paper examines the two different and divergent faces of South African politics – one focused on the domestic development state and the other focused on its international middle power aspirations.

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