President Mbeki to host Canadian Governor-General Michaelle Jean

Pretoria - South African President Thabo Mbeki will host the Canadian Governor-General Michaëlle Jean on her first State Visit to South Africa scheduled for 1-8 December 2006. While in South Africa the Governor-General will visit Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

President Mbeki will host Governor-General Jean within the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate the African agenda through, among others, the promotion of North-South co-operation through the Group of 8 (G-8).

The Governor-General's visit to South Africa is part of a five-legged African visit which will see the Governor-General also visiting Algeria, Mali, Ghana and Morocco.

Issues on the agenda for discussion at the Union Buildings on Tuesday, 5 December 2006, are expected to include, among others:

· The status of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries;
· A briefing on operationalisation of the institutions of the African Union and the implementation of NEPAD seeing that Canada has strongly supported that both these issues be included on the agenda of the G-8;
· Conflict resolution and peacekeeping in Africa; and
· Other issues of multilateral importance including the need to restore the centrality of multilateralism, the comprehensive reform of the United Nations and South Africa's election to the United Nations Security Council 2007-2008 as a non-permanent member.

South Africa - Canada bilateral relations have grown exponentially since President Mbeki's State Visit to Canada in November 2003. Bilateral relations are conducted largely within the framework of the Annual Consultations (AC) which were first held in Pretoria in 2004.

There is regular contact and interaction between most government departments and their Canadian counterparts and a significant increase in the number of departmental and provincial visits to Canada has been recorded. Eleven ministerial and deputy ministerial visits to Canada took place this year. There have been reciprocal engagements between the legislatures, such as the Portfolio Committees on Defence, Public Works, Security and Constitutional Affairs, Finance and Oversight Committees.

Most of the interaction is centred on capacity building and skills development. The significant growth in co-operation, across a broad spectrum of areas, was evident at the 3rd Annual Consultations held in Pretoria, in May 2006. The agenda featured Trade and Investment, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, Agriculture, and Minerals and Energy, amongst others.

Bilateral Co-operation Projects

Specific areas of bilateral co-operation include the following:

Health:

Ongoing negotiations are taking place to establish a framework for co-operation that would facilitate exchange of health professionals, research and funding. Following the visit of a high level scoping mission to South Africa late last year, agreement was reached at the 3rd Annual Consultations in May this year to focus on 18 areas of co-operation.

ODA:

A Country Development Policy Framework (CPDF), the first of its kind, was signed between South Africa and Canada in 2003. Canadian development assistance to South Africa amounts to about R100 million per year. The assistance is focussed mainly on strengthening service delivery in HIV and AIDS, rural development and good governance. During the 3rd Annual Consultations, three Declarations of Intent were signed earmarking funding in the fields of HIV and AIDS, Governance and Rural Development. An overall ODA Treaty that will unlock further Bilateral Canadian funding will be signed before the visit of the Governor General. Canada also sees South Africa as a partner in achieving its development goals on the continent, rather than being only a net receiver of ODA.

Arts and Culture:

In November 2003, the two countries signed a Joint Declaration of Intent to develop a Framework for Cultural Co-operation which identified three areas of interest, viz: Exchange of Arts and Cultural Experts, Performance Management; and Governance and Art Bank. The two countries have also signed a Co-Production Agreement which has resulted in a number of films being produced.

Education

There have been positive signs of progress in the area of funding for tertiary education. Dalhousie University in Halifax, as administrator of the South African Student Education Project (SASEP), offers scholarships to South African students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

Minerals and Energy

There is a high level of co-operation in the field of mining. The Annual Prospectors and Developers Association (PDAC) Convention, held in Toronto, provides an opportunity to promote the South African mining sector and to exchange information with Canadian counterparts.

Science and Technology


Canada and South Africa's Science and Technology (S&T) relationship has been good in terms of the development of South Africa's Science and Technology strategy and the role that the IDRC has played in the past. Canada views South Africa as a strategic S&T partner in the SADC region. Areas of co-operation identified include the Earth Science Sector (ESS) division of National Resources Canada (NRCan), which is currently working with the Medical Research Council (MRC) to develop a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and ICT geomatics for a public health platform for policy decision makers; identifying the use of modern geospatial technologies for natural disaster management and to address development issues in the SADC region. There will also be a focus on Human Capital Development that will look at Canada's experience in the retention of science intellectual capacity and the lessons to be learnt by South Africa. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will submit a proposal to NRCan to promote SDI in Africa.

Human Resource Development/Skills Exchange:

The Banking SETA Exchange Project has been successful for the second consecutive year. Selected senior South African banking executives from previously disadvantaged groups trained for six weeks with leading financial institutions in Toronto and Montreal.

Following the signing of a twinning agreement between the University of Pretoria and the University of New Brunswick in 2004, much progress has been achieved. The Operational Framework for Post Settlement Support for Restitution Farmers was drafted in 2006 and a project for the implementation of three pilot restitution farms is underway through CIDA funding.

Canada enjoys a high standing in the area of capacity building and skills development as illustrated by the increasing number of delegations, both on national and provincial level, and the private sector, to learn from Canadian models. Canada has also offered technical assistance for the establishment of a database of skills needs and processes for JIPSA.

People to People Co-operation:

The recent interest and increase in the activity of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund among schools in Ottawa is a positive sign of the support that Canada is giving to South Africa. The Adopt-a-School Project is another example of a successful collaboration between Canada and South Africa. Funds are committed for schools and to the purchase of educational resources.

Several Canadian non-government organisations have initiated projects in, for example, the Western Cape, Alexandra and in Soweto to improve health care in clinics and in building schools for children in those areas.

Sport and Recreation co-operation

An interim extension to the Memorandum of Understanding is in the process of being finalised. The MoU will allow for co-operation with the Under-21 Soccer World Cup to be hosted by Canada in 2007 and the 2010 Soccer World Cup to be hosted by South Africa.

Peacekeeping on the Continent

Discussions are ongoing to identify avenues of closer co-operation in this area between South Africa and Canada, both being prominent players in peacekeeping on the continent. Canada is the only country that has been involved in every UN peacekeeping operation in Africa to date.

Trade and investment

South Africa is Canada's leading trading partner in Africa and there is scope to grow bilateral trade. Canadian investments in South Africa are mainly geared toward the mining sector, with 17 Canadian exploration and mining companies active in South Africa, representing capital assets of 1.4 billion Canadian dollars. At the 3rd Annual Consultations, mining investments, including BEE issues, featured prominently in discussions between the Canadian participants and the Departments of Trade and Industry and Minerals and Energy.

Bilateral trade is largely linked to the mining sector, with the bulk of South Africa's exports to Canada comprising mineral products, base metals, prepared foodstuffs and vegetable products. Major imports comprise of machinery and mechanical appliances, vehicles, aircraft, dairy and vegetable products, vessels and associated component and mineral products. Bilateral trade amounts to around R4 billion per annum. In 2005, South Africa registered a small trade deficit against Canada, due to a growth in imports from Canada and a marginal drop in exports. The appreciation of the Rand also led to a rise in the price of precious metals, which culminated in a decline in exports. Base metals and mineral products constitute about 57.60% of South Africa's total exports to Canada. The Department of Trade and Industry has identified food and beverage, ICT, the film and mining industries as sectors to be earmarked for diversification of trade with Canada.

Bilateral Trade (R'000 current prices)

YearExports (R'000 current prices)Imports (R'000 current prices)Trade Balance
2000 1,531,8451,734,297202,452
20011,527,419 1,515,062 12,357
2002 1,809,5412,423,047 -613,506
20031,596,3432,060,431 -464,088
20042,345,792 2,021,875 323,917
2005 2,238,3152,454,038 -215,723

Source: Customs & Excise

Investments

Another major investment from Canada includes the stake of the Bombardier Consortium which has been awarded a contract worth US$1.650 million towards the Gautrain Project.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

22 November 2006

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