Multilateral Relations

African Union flag waving on the wind

African Union

South Africa’s foreign policy focuses on building unity, inclusive economic development and shared prosperity for the African continent and its people. Accordingly, the department plays an active role in the structures and processes of the African Union (AU) to advance peace and security and prevent conflict in Africa.



BRICS is an association of five major emerging countries. It consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. South Africa joined BRICS in December 2010, in line with the country’s foreign policy to strengthen South-South relations. South Africa’s membership of BRICS enables the country to employ additional and powerful tools in its fight to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality through increased trade, investment, tourism, capacity building, skills and technology transfers.

G20 1


The G20 was established in 1999 to increase multilateral cooperation for the recovery of the global economy, to bring stability to the global financial system, to promote long-term sustainable and inclusive growth and to strengthen global economic governance. The G20 brings together the world’s major economies. Its members account for more than 80% of world GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of the population of the planet.

IBSA logo for web 400 x 600


The India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum brings together three large pluralistic, multicultural and multiracial societies from three continents as a purely South-South grouping of like-minded countries committed to inclusive sustainable development, in pursuit of the well-being of their peoples and those of the developing world. The principles, norms and values underpinning the IBSA Dialogue Forum are participatory democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and the strengthening of multilateralism.

IORA Ministerial meeting 2


The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is a dynamic intergovernmental organisation aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 23 member states and 10 dialogue partners. IORA was established on 7 March 1997.


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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) remains a major vehicle for South Africa’s pursuit of regional development and integration. This inter-governmental organisation headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana, aims to further regional socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 16 countries in southern Africa.

United Nations

Multilateralism, and by implication the commitment to a rules-based, just, and equitable international order, remains a focal point of South Africa’s foreign policy. South Africa was one of the original 51 founding members of the United Nations (UN), which came into existence on 24 October 1945.