Paradiplomacy in South Africa: the role of interest and identity in the international relations of KwaZulu-Natal province.
Magam, Nolubabalo Patricia Dawn.
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This study offered an analysis of the importance of international relations activities undertaken by sub-national governments in South Africa, with a specific reference to the province of KwaZulu-Natal. These activities were conceptualised as paradiplomacy. The goal of the study was to advance the notion of paradiplomacy and explore how identity and interest facilitate paradiplomacy. The study explored this phenomenon from the context of Constructivism as a theory, highlighting the role of interests and identity in paradiplomacy. Positing a reciprocal relation between identity and interests, Constructivism argues that identities and interests shape and are shaped by foreign policy of a particular political entity. This was a qualitative, single-case study which relied on primary and secondary data.. Semi-structured interviews with key informants from the national government, provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal, external partners and academics, were used to gather empirical data. In addition to that, official government reports, international agreements and MOUs were analysed to augment the empirical data. In addition, the works of leading scholars in paradiplomacy such as Geldenhuys and Nganje (in South Africa) and Kuznetsov, Keating,Lecours,amongst others were invaluable sources of secondary data in this study. The study contributed to the growing body of literature on paradiplomay by providing analytical insight into (i) What is the legal framework for paradiplomacy in South Africa; (ii) What is the role of interest and identity in paradiplomatic activities of KwaZulu-Natal and (iii) How has paradiplomacy affected development in the province? Although subnational governments engage in international relations, primarily, for developing their local economies, they also advance the national agenda. In the case of South Africa, paradiplomacy is a reflection of the national government’s foreign policy agenda. The study showed how KwaZulu-Natal’s identities and interests are shaped by the broader and historical South African context. The study demonstrated how KwaZulu-Natal’s paradiplomatic activities are influenced by interests and identities. In addition, the study also explored the existence of multiple identities and interests, which are as a result of social and corporate identities. The findings revealed that paradiplomatic activities in the KwaZulu-Natal advance the provincial development strategy. The specific areas of cooperation are development-oriented and address development challenges the province is faced with. The study concluded by recommending that the legal framework of paradiplomacy be explicit in the constitution, to ensure that subnational governments work within a clear and explicit constitutional framework.