South Africa is one of the many non-member economies with which the OECD has working relationships in addition to its 34 member countries. Reflecting strong interest from member countries to involve this country in OECD work, South Africa was invited to participate in the OECD’s “Emerging Market Economy Forum” since its inception in 1996 through to its closure in 2000. Since then, it has participated actively in a variety of other OECD events open to non-members in a regional context and in OECD Global Forums. The OECD Council at Ministerial level adopted a resolution on 16 May 2007 to strengthen the co-operation with South Africa, as well as with Brazil, China, India and Indonesia, through a programme of enhanced engagement.
Dr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade & Industry, South Africa (left), and Mario Amano, OECD Deputy Secretary-General, 25 June 2009 at OECD headquarters in Paris.
While enhanced engagement is distinct from accession to the OECD, it has the potential in the future to lead to membership. During his Secretary-General’s visit to South Africa on 15 July 2008, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and the South African Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel signed a joint statement on Enhanced Engagement between South Africa and the OECD on enhanced engagement between South Africa and the OECD.
South Africa is Africa’s largest economy and it is usually the “prime mover” for OECD activities supporting the objectives of NEPAD, especially in Southern Africa, on taxation, investment, competition policy and governance. It values the opportunity to discuss major policy issues and challenges in a multilateral context and to learn from the experiences of OECD countries facing similar challenges in many areas.
How is the co-operation co-ordinated?
The OECD’s Global Relations Secretariat develops and oversees the strategic orientation of this relationship and ensures that the dialogue remains focused, forward-looking and mutually beneficial. Usually, meetings are held between South African officials and experts from OECD countries and the OECD Secretariat, on topics mutually agreed on and jointly prepared with analytical studies.
Areas of work
The 2008 OECD Economic Assessment of South Africa provides a comprehensive overview of the main economic challenges faced by the country and give concrete recommendations aimed at further strengthening policy reform. South Africa also participates in activities in various policy areas, including public governance and budget reform, competition policy, taxation , investment, agriculture and education policies. Peer reviews have been undertaken in the fields of competition policy, investment, innovation policy, e-business, education policies and territorial policy.
South Africa’s participation in OECD general activities
South Africa participates in OECD meetings at Ministerial level. It has adhered to OECD legal instruments, notably the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, and the OECD Council Acts related to the Mutual Acceptance of Data in the Assessment of Chemicals. It participates in OECD committees, and is a member of the OECD's Development Centre. Finally, South Africa supports OECD’s regionally-focused activities in Africa.