On 10 November 2011, AISA and the City of Tshwane co-hosted the Ambassadorial Forum on The Impact of European Union Membership Conditionalities on Romanian Politics at the Sammy Marks Square Conference Centre in Pretoria. The guest speaker was the Ambassador of the Republic of Romania to South Africa, HE Dr Radu Gabriel Safta, and the discussant was Ambassador Thomas Wheeler from the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). Romania has been the first among the Central and Eastern European countries to acquire European Union membership. Ambassador Safta informed the audience that Romania joined the European Union on 1 January 2007 under the condition that its accession to the Schengen area was to lift controls at internal borders and to adopt the Euro instead of its national currency. The EU also required stable institutions that guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, a functioning market economy, as well as the ability to cope with the pressure of competition and the market forces at work inside the Union. Ambassador Thomas Wheeler remarked that Romania applied for EU membership in 1995, and its candidacy was approved at the Helsinki conference of EU members in 1999, but it took another eight years for Romania to satisfy the Copenhagen criteria for acceptance as a member. In addition to that, he emphasised that Romania will qualify to become a member of the Euro zone in 2015.
World Bank Strategy For Africa Region: An Overview On 14 March 2012, AISA hosted an Ambassadorial Forum on World Bank Strategy for Africa Region: An Overview. The paper was delivered by Mr Sarwat Huassain, the Senior Communications Officer and Hub Leader, Africa Region Strategic Communications (AFRSC) at the World Bank. In his presentation, he reflected on an overview of the World Bank’s strategy for Africa, Africa’s future and the World Bank’s support to it, which has two pillars; boosting competitiveness and employment and reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience and resting on a foundation of strengthened governance and building support for public sector capacity. Africa is on the brink of economic transformation as a result of the successes of the continent’s companies as regional and potentially global players. Progress towards the MDGs has been rapid, and many African countries are on track to cut poverty in half, reach universal primary school enrolment and gender parity and reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.
Fighting poverty through partnership, knowledge, and financing are key priorities of the strategy. Implementation of the strategy is coming at a time of exciting developments such as open development, greater South-South knowledge exchanges, and greater transparency and accountability through new platforms such as Open Data.