Issue 89 | 06 December 2013  
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The aim of the visit was to renew ties between South Africa and the DRC.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) President, Joseph Kabila Kabange, has thanked South Africa for its role in defeating the M23 rebels in Goma. International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, visited the DRC on behalf of President Jacob Zuma on 1 December.

“President Kabila thanked South Africa for its contribution to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC (Monusco) and especially the intervention brigade, who played a pivotal role in defeating the M23 and bringing peace to the Eastern DRC.”

The intervention brigade comprises Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania.

During her meeting with President Kabila Kabange, the Minister reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to the consolidation of peace in the Great Lakes Region. The Minister also visited the South African National Defence Force soldiers stationed in Goma and at Sake Base.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane took the opportunity to reflect on the milestones and challenges of South Africa under the theme: “Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Democracy and Freedom”.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, together with the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Noxolo Kiviet, and the Executive Mayor of Buffalo City Metro Municipality, Zukswa Ncitha, undertook a Public Participation Programme in the Eastern Cape on 29 November.

Around 1 000 people attended the event.
The Fifth High-Level Consultations (HLC) enhanced relations between the two countries and established the focal points for future cooperation.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Marius Fransman, recently undertook an official visit to Switzerland and Norway.

In Switzerland, the Deputy Minister co-chaired the Fifth Annual Switzerland-South Africa HLC with his Swiss counterpart, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Yves Rossier, from 25 to 26 November 2013 in Fribourg.

The Fifth HLC discussed ways and measures to enhance excellent bilateral political and economic relations in support of South Africa’s national priorities, South Africa’s foreign policy objectives with regard to the African Agenda and an exchange of views on issues in the multilateral fora that are of concern to both countries.

Since the establishment of the HLC, many bilateral engagements have taken place as stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding that established the HLC mechanism. These include the signing of the Scientific Cooperation Agreement, the establishment of the Joint Economic Committee and the Agreement on the Support for Energy Efficiency Monitoring and Implementation Project.

Deputy Minister Fransman also co-chaired the inaugural HLC with his Norwegian counterpart State Secretary, Bard Glad Pedersen, on 28 November 2013 in Oslo. The structured HLC is an indication of both countries’ desire to create a new path that will further consolidate the relations between the two countries in a wide variety of areas.

In 2012, exports to Norway from South Africa amounted to R2,4 billion with imports from Norway to South Africa amounting to R860 million, thus recording a trade balance in South Africa’s favour. There has been an increase of Norwegian travellers to South Africa for the past years, and South Africa was visited by 23 156 Norwegian tourists in 2012.
It is the most significant agreement between Tehran and international negotiators in more than three decades of estrangement.
South Africa has welcomed the agreement on a temporary curtailment of Iran’s nuclear programme that was reached with world leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, recently.

According to the six-month agreement with the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, Iran will curb some of its nuclear activities and in return will receive US$7 billion in sanctions relief. Iran has agreed to halt its nuclear activities by 20% and gave United Nations inspectors access to its facilities.

South Africa believes that this agreement demonstrates the scope of creative solutions that are possible when the choice is made to follow a constructive and pragmatic approach based on negotiations and dialogue.

Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Clayson Monyela, said this was a period of confidence-building, which was a prelude to the ultimate goal of a mutually agreed, long-term comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme.

“In South Africa’s view the International Atomic Energy Agency remains the only internationally recognised competent authority responsible for verifying and assuring compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.” Source:
The business forum was part of the three-day Outward Selling Mission organised by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at the South Africa-Riyadh Chamber of Commerce Business Forum held in Riyadh recently, the South African Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sadiq Jaffer, encouraged the South African business delegation to expand their global footprint and start building relationships with their Saudi Arabian counterparts.

Ambassador Jaffer said there was a new market for small enterprises and emerging exporters who wanted to do business in Saudi Arabia. This could be in the form of cooperatives, collectively supplying the volumes and quantities that would be required for the Saudi market.

“Saudi Arabia is an economic leader in the Middle East, and is constantly growing in different sectors which then make it more attractive to invest in. There are great opportunities for South African businesses to look into, and invest in different projects, especially the current Saudi government infrastructure programme.”

According to the dti, Saudi Arabia is South Africa’s largest trading partner and second-largest export destination in the Gulf region. In 2012, total bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to R61,7 billion. Source: SAinfo reporter and Department of Trade and Industry
The Outward Selling and Investment Mission is part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (the dti) Export and Investment Promotion Strategy that focusses on targeted high growth markets with the objective of creating investment and export opportunities for South African companies and of promoting South Africa as a trade and investment destination.
A delegation of about 40 South African businesspeople travelled to Nigeria to participate in the Outward Selling and Investment Mission in Abuja and Lagos from 2 to 6 December 2013. The delegation was led by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe.

The programme included trade and investment seminars, business-to-business meetings and site visits in both cities.

Deputy Minister Thabethe said Nigeria was considered as one of South Africa’s most important partners on the African continent and because of its large population and natural resources, the country had become South Africa’s most important trading partner on the continent.
The MoC is intended to formalise and strengthen relations in the area of youth empowerment and development. It will further encourage mutual cooperation between youth development institutions and organisations in both countries.
The Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in The Presidency, Collins Chabane, and his counterpart, the Minister for Youth National Service, Sport and Culture of Namibia, Jerry Ekandjo, signed a MoC on Youth Empowerment and Development recently.

The two countries will promote cooperation in areas such as: leadership development; exchange of information on youth development research; the promotion of access to finance for business development and support of youth-owned enterprises; the sharing of experience in areas that enhance social cohesion such as sports, arts, culture and heritage; and the sharing of best practices in the area of youth development.
Speaking during the signing ceremony in Cuba, Minister September said the signing of the new agreement would pave the way for the national Department of Human Settlements and provinces in South Africa to recruit individuals with technical expertise in the built environment.
The Minister of Human Settlements, Connie September, recently signed an agreement with her Cuban counterpart, Rene Mesa Villafaña, the Minister of Construction, to continue and strengthen cooperation between the two countries towards the provision of human settlements in South Africa.

The agreement provides an opportunity to sharpen the focus of the cooperation to more technical support for:
• the acceleration of the People’s Housing Process projects and other human settlements programmes
• knowledge-sharing and capacity-building on good practice for engineers and architects working on government’s human settlements projects
• the promotion of community participation based on the Cuban experience
• innovation and cost-effective project implementation based on Cuba’s experiences.
The two professional rescuers received their awards from the Secretary-General of the IMO at the multilateral organisation’s headquarters in London recently.
Two South African professional rescuers, Heino Uhde and Fabian Higgins, recently received “Awards for Exceptional Bravery at Sea” by the United Nations IMO.

Uhde is a diver attached to the South African Police Service’s Diving Unit in the Western Cape while Higgins is a paramedic and rescue diver with the Western Cape Emergency Medical Services.

This is in recognition of their bravery and extraordinary efforts for rescuing three passengers trapped under the capsized sightseeing catamaran Miroshga during darkness and in freezing cold water on 14 September 2012 in Hout Bay, Western Cape.

The IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea serves to honour those who have put their own lives on the line, acting instinctively, with courage, to try to save others when harsh weather, cruel seas or other extraordinary circumstances have put lives in danger.
The former National Administration and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut became the first African-American woman to travel into space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on 12 September 1992.
The Department of Science and Technology hosted the first African-American woman to travel into space, Mae Jemison, from 27 to 29 November, to discuss a number of initiatives on space science and technology.

She resigned from NASA in 1993 to form a company researching the applications of space technology in daily life. In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison received several awards and honorary doctorates.

While in South Africa, she visited a number of science and technology initiatives of the department, including attending the Technology Top 100 Business Awards in Midrand on 28 November. She also hold meetings with senior officials in the National System of Innovation to discuss possible areas of cooperation.

Dr Jemison visited the South African National Space Agency in Hartesbeesthoek to discuss issues such as remote sensing for crop management, intensified building of cube satellites for technology demonstrations, human capital development, and refurbishing of old space infrastructure and instruments to build technical skills.

Discussions also centred on extending the 100 Year Star Ship (100YSS) initiative to South Africa to enhance partnerships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related initiatives. The 100YSS is a joint US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA grant project to a private entity in order to work towards achieving interstellar travel within the next 100 years.
South Africa’s “Mother City” beat runners-up Vancouver and Venice to take the accolade for the second year running.
Cape Town got the nod as the favourite city worldwide from more than 75 000 readers of British news site the Telegraph in the 2013 Telegraph Travel Awards.

“The three cities nominated by Telegraph readers for this award are all beside the sea. But of the three, there is only one in which you can surf the Atlantic, climb mountains, eat in Michelin-starred restaurants, stay in both historical and super-hip accommodation, indulge in wine tours and still find time to relax on the beach (with or without penguins). That, of course, is Cape Town.”

The Telegraph Travel Awards is an annual event which asks readers to vote for their travel favourites in categories such as best city, best country, best travel website, best travel app and more. This year’s survey garnered 75 000 consumer votes from Telegraph readers.

Cape Town also recently ranked as the number three city in the world in Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2014”. The city has an exciting year ahead as it plays out its title of World Design Capital 2014. Source:
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