Minister Dlamini Zuma to Host Foreign Minister of Iceland for Discussions

Pretoria - South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will host her counterpart from Iceland, Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdottir for bilateral political and economic discussions in Pretoria on Tuesday 27 February 2007. Foreign Minister Sverrisdottir will be visiting South Africa from Sunday - Wednesday 25-28 February 2007.

Minister Dlamini Zuma will host Minister Sverrisdottir within the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate North-South relations with a view to a faster and shared economic growth in South Africa. In this regard, Iceland has decided to place greater emphasis on Africa in its foreign policy and in 2005 made South Africa the centre of its new, more active policy towards Africa

Issues on the agenda of discussions between Foreign Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Sverrisdottir on Tuesday 27 February 2007 are expected to include, among others:

  • The status of bilateral political and economic relations;
  • The status of Africa - Iceland relations, developments within the Africa - Nordic forum and Iceland's support for NEPAD and the African Union;
  • Conflict resolution and peacekeeping in Africa;
  • Co-operation in the fields of fishing technology;
  • Developments within the Southern African Customs Union - European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (SACU-EFTA FTA);
  • Increased Icelandic foreign direct investment (FDI) to South Africa; and
  • Reform of the United Nations.

While in South Africa Minister Sverrisdottir is expected to participate in a seminar hosted by the Icelandic Trade Council, inaugurate the Embassy of the Republic of Ireland, address the South African Institute of International Affairs, hold discussions with the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Cape Town Premier Ebrahim Rasool, Chair of the NCOP Johannes Mahlangu and Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille.

Minister Sverrisdottir is expected to depart from South Africa on Wednesday 28 February 2007.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Trade relations between South Africa and Iceland are limited and the trade balance is in South Africa's favour. South African exports to Iceland during 2006 totaled nearly R150 million while R32 million were imported from Iceland.

South African imports from Iceland

1997 R26 049 000
1998 R22 131 000
1999 R36 811 000
2000 R45 543 000
2001 R29 453 000
2002 R25 947 000
2003 R27 951 000
2004 R23 884 000
2005 R40 637 000
2006 R32 174 000

South African exports to Iceland

1997 R 17 475 000
1998 R 7 940 000
1999 R 7 425 000
2000 R 10 206 000
2001 R 6 974 000
2002 R 19 860 000
2003 R 56 329 000
2004 R 58 910 000
2005 R 57 963 000
2006 R149 729 000

Top imports from Iceland (93.5%)

  • Products of the chemical or allied industries (34.8%)
  • Machinery and mechanical appliances (33.2%)
  • Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus, clocks and watches, musical instruments; parts and accessories thereof (13.1%)
  • Plastics and articles thereof; rubber and articles thereof (12.4%)

Top South African exports to Iceland (97.3%)

  • Mineral Products (79.7%)
  • Vehicles, aircraft, vessels and associated transport (11.8%)
  • Prepared foodstuffs, beverages, spirits, and vinegar (5.8%)

NEPAD and the African Union

The Nordic states have traditionally been reliable partners in support of Africa, particularly during the period of struggle against colonialism, racism and oppression. They, along with Belgium and the Netherlands, are amongst the foremost donor states currently supporting development efforts on the continent. In this regard, the Nordic states provided financial support during the development of the MAP, the merger process culminating in the New African Initiative and the setting up of the NEPAD Secretariat.

The greatest value of the Nordic states lies in the fact that they form part of a coalition of like-minded states concerning their policies towards South Africa and NEPAD. They can therefore, play an important role in keeping Africa on the global agenda, in acting as agents for progressive change and as advocates to pressurise other stakeholders on issues of concern to the continent. They can be engaged to support such issues as the need to reform the international financial architecture; to reform the UN system, including the UNSC, to make it more responsive to Africa's needs; to reform the global trading system in terms of market access issues, including agricultural subsidies and non-tariff barriers; and to reform the donor-recipient relationship on the basis of mutual accountability, etc.

The outcome of the two Nordic Summits (Skagen, Denmark in June 2000, and Molde, Norway, in May 2002) was an important step at the time in developing international consensus around the international development goals ahead of the UN Millennium Summit and around the need to address Africa's particular needs and challenges. The Skagen and Molde Declarations emphasised the strengthening of ties between Nordic countries and South Africa; Support for the African renaissance, progress towards democracy and economic stability is reliant on efforts by Africa and international community; the restructuring of African Union; expressed full support for NEPAD; the strengthening of mechanisms to help prevent, manage and resolve violent conflict in Africa; expressed support for President Mbeki's initiative for economic growth and sustainable development; underlined the need to review the global economic system; increased investment, enhanced market access, stronger economic growth, international efforts including WTO; the importance of the development of ICT relations; cooperation to curb infectious diseases.

Media Programme for Visit to South Africa by Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland Valgerdur Sverrisdottir

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

25 February 2007

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