Minister Dlamini Zuma to Co-Chair 5th SA - Germany Binational Commission

Pretoria - South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will on Monday 23 October 2006 together with her German counterpart Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier co-chair the 5th session of the South Africa - Germany Binational Commission (BNC) scheduled from Monday - Tuesday 23-24 October 2006. South African-German cooperation has grown significantly since 1994, and South Africa regards Germany as an important and valued partner.

Minister Dlamini Zuma's participation in this BNC, being held under the banner Keep the Ball Rolling- Investing in Common Goals, comes within the context of South Africa's commitment to, among others, promote North-South co-operation in support of the African agenda through partnerships with the G-8 and the African Partnership Forum of the European Union (EU). In this regard, Germany plays a leading role in both the G-8 and EU.

The BNC consists of 6 committees - Arts and Culture, Defence, Environment, Development Cooperation (National Treasury and partner departments), Science and Technology and Economic. Each of these committees is motivated by the long term goal of achieving South Africa's domestic objectives, as outlined through South Africa's Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (AsgiSA) and Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA).

Issues on the agenda of discussions between Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Steinmeier are expected to include, among others:

  • Bilateral political and economic relations between both countries;
  • South Africa's preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup and SA-German co-operation in this regard;
  • A review of developments within the European Union and Africa including Germany's respective presidencies of the G-8 and EU in 2007 with the focus on the Promotion of the African Agenda;
  • Conflict resolution and peacekeeping in Africa including Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes Region;
  • Co-operation in the multilateral arena including the United Nations with respect to South Africa's tenure of the Non-Permanent Seat of the Security Council 2007-2008 (Germany has expressed support for South Africa's non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council) and the reform of the world body and the World Trade Organisation with respect to the reform of the multilateral trading framework; and
  • Other issues of mutual concern including Iran and the Middle East.

Bilateral Economic Relations

  • South Africa ranks 32nd as a source country to Germany for imports and 22nd as an export destination. (Germany's trade with South Africa exceeds its trade with G8 member Canada.)
  • Germany is SA's largest import partner, and 4th largest export partner after Japan, the United Kingdom and the USA.
  • Germany ranks with the UK and the USA among the three largest economic role players in South Africa regarding trade, investment, finance and tourism.
  • Germany's investment is the fourth largest in South Africa. Approximately 450 German companies provide for nearly 70 000 jobs in SA.
  • Major investments by German companies include companies such as BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Volkswagen, Siemens, Bayer and Ferrostaal.
  • Although South Africa is Germany's largest trading partner on the African continent, only a very small percentage of Germany's total trade takes place in South Africa. South African companies such as Minorco, Sappi, SASOL and ABSA have invested in Germany.
  • The following figures provide an indication of bilateral trade:

Trade with Germany (in Rands)

Imports from Germany30.958.449.00049.196.559.000
Exports to Germany13.588.557.00021.076.405.000
South African Trade Balance-17.369.892.000-28.120.154000
*Between January and July 2006  
  • Major South African exports to Germany include base metals such as ferro-alloys, primary commodities notably coal, iron ores/metal ash, food products and motor vehicles/parts. Major South African imports include machinery (25%), motor vehicles/parts (13,3%), electrical engineering products and chemicals.
  • Manufactured or value-added products now predominate South African exports to Germany.
  • Several large German companies have proved their confidence in SA through an expansion of their operations in the country, with particularly focus on the export of manufactured goods. Examples in this regard are the export of the C-class right-hand drive Mercedes from East London, the Volkswagen Golf and Polo from Uitenhage and the BMW 3-series from Rosslyn near Pretoria.
  • The biggest single investment in South Africa was made with the outsourcing of Telkom's fleet management to Debis, a then subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, which resulted in an estimated R1 billion investment in South Africa.
  • The tourism sector has been a major growth area with approximately 250 000 Germans visiting the country annually since 1997. Germany is one of South Africa's biggest source markets. South Africa has an approximate 3,5% share of Germany's annual long-haul tourism market and it is growing continuously.
  • South African Tourism- in conjunction with KwaZulu Natal Tourism and the Western Cape Tourism Board- signed a multi-million rand Joint Marketing Agreement with German Thomas Cook AG in 2003. The aim was to increase the volume of overseas tourists visiting South Africa. The ground-breaking Agreement enables 13 000 additional German travellers to escape the European winter between November and May, flying south on twice-weekly air charters, using 269-seat B767 aircraft operated by Thomas Cook's Condor airline.
  • Minister-President Wulff indicated that Lower Saxony wishes to deepen its existing relationship with South Africa. He expressed an interest in skills development in South Africa, within the context of JIPSA. Also, the enhancement of SA's call center sector and the possibility of a student exchange programme for the training of civil engineers (especially woman students) were discussed.
  • During the visit Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka was invited (by Mr Wulff) to the May 2006 Industrial Energy Fair in Hanover. Unfortunately, the Deputy President was unable to take up the invitation.

World Cup 2006 and 2010: SA/Germany Cooperation

  • Former Chancellor Schröder offered President Mbeki Germany's willingness and full co-operation to share Germany's experience, which was gained when Germany hosted the FIFA Soccer World Cup earlier this year. Minister E Pahad and members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) have already visited Germany on several occasions and have set up a network for co-operation. South Africa will continue visiting Germany to gain a better analysis of the World Cup now that it is over.

Other co-operation

  • Germany provided direct financial support to the restructuring and change management process of the SADC secretariat by sending German specialists to assist.
  • In 1995 former President Mandela and former Chancellor Helmut Kohl agreed that, in order to assist the South African provinces to set up effective administrations, German Federal States should be encouraged to "twin" with South African Provinces. Agreements have already been signed between:

    • Mpumalanga and North Rhine-Westphalia (very active, focusing mainly on capacity building and HRD)
    • Gauteng and Bavaria (on sound footing, yielding concrete results in community development, HRD, conservation and a number of "Blue IQ" commercial ventures)
    • Western Cape and Bavaria (yielding good results in HRD, economic development, space technology, poverty reduction, conservation and community safety)
    • Eastern Cape and Lower Saxony
    • Limpopo Province and Saxony
    • Kwazulu-Natal and Baden Wuertemberg (gaining momentum in the areas of economic development, HRD, culture, agriculture, environment and tourism - should start yielding fruit in the near future after relative quiet period)
    • Baden Wuertemberg also maintains good relations with the Eastern Cape even though no formal agreement exists (Baden-Wuerttemberg supports a consultant to work with CIMEC, the Eastern Cape's economic development agency).
    • In May 2006 a delegation from Kwazulu-Natal visited Munich and Stuttgart in an attempt to reactivate the Cooperation Agreement between Baden-Wuerttemberg and Kwazulu-Natal.
    • The city-state of Berlin has developed a "special relationship" with Johannesburg and a Memorandum of Understanding on Project-related co-operation was signed in May 2000.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

22 October 2006

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