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A critical analysis of the trade agreement between South Africa and the European Union and the implications it has on SADC.

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European Union and South Africa trade agreement have continuously grown since the post-apartheid era. There seems to be enormous literature on these agreements as well as on how it has improved SA’s international trade. However, little attention has paid on how these trade agreements affects SA’s economy, its people as well as the integration of SADC. Using the realism and the world systems theory as theoretical frameworks, the study investigates the impact of SA-EU trade agreement as well as its implication for SADC. The study uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The choice of method is influenced by the research questions raised. The data sources used for the research involved organizational records from the Southern African Customs Union, the World Bank, Southern African Development Community, South African Department of Trade and Industry, European Union, and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, among others. The qualitative data collected for the study was analysed using thematic content analysis where by the data were categorized into themes. While the quantitative data collected was analysed using statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) to produce tabularized descriptive statistics, tendencies, distribution plots, and charts so as to enable the researcher analyses the trend of the research questions as identified. While TDCA expands trade between the trading partners, data collected also paint a sobering picture for the South African economy as the EU is overwhelmingly dominating trade between the two parties. This dissertation argues that the TDCA reinforces and reproduces the core-periphery trade patterns between South Africa and the European union. SA-EU agreement accentuates core – periphery relation between South Africa and its SADC and SACU partners. This study also paints the glaring picture of interest and power play as motives for EU-South Africa relationship. This study argued that the British vote to exit the EU was motivated by power and self-interest. If actualized, the British exit from EU will have both negative and positive consequences for South Africa.


Master of Political Science. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2016.


European Union countries--Foreign economic relations--South Africa., South Africa--Foreign economic relations--European Union countries.