President Thabo Mbeki to host Singaporean President Sellapan Ramanathan for State Visit, in Pretoria, Thurs 19 April 2007

Pretoria - President Thabo Mbeki, supported by Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will on Thursday 19 April 2007 host his Singaporean counterpart President Sellapan Ramanathan, on a first state visit to SA by a Singaporean Head of State for bilateral political, economic and trade discussions at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

President Mbeki's delegation will include Ministers Mosioua Lekota, Membathisi Mdladlana, Ronnie Kasrils. President Mbeki will host his counterpart within the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidating and strengthening political, economic and trade relations with Singapore.

In addition, the visit is aimed at achieving the objectives of the New Africa-Asia Strategic Partnership adopted in April 2005. This Partnership mandated all Asian and African countries to give expression to their political relations by expanding trade and economic relations.

Issues on the agenda for discussions between Presidents Mbeki and Nathan are expected to include, among others:

  • The status of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries including support for skills development programmes through AsgiSA and JIPSA;
  • To encourage more trade and investment projects such as the COEGA Straits Chemicals investment worth about R5,8b
  • Developments in Africa-Asia relations since the adoption of the New Africa-Asia Strategic Partnership (NAASP) with a view to the Ministerial Meeting later in 2007 and the Summit of Afro-Asian Heads of State and Government in 2008;
  • Global challenges including South Africa's mandate as the Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and UN Security Council issues, inter alia, Timor Leste, and the Middle East;
  • Views on increasing South-South Cooperation especially lessons for SADC in light of the expanded ASEAN and the prospects of its Free Trade Area by 2015; and
  • Developments in the World Trade Organisation Talks.

While in South Africa, President Ramanathan is expected to meet with the Singaporean Business Community based in South Africa, visit the Mandela Museum in Soweto, lay a wreath at the Hector Peterson Memorial, visit Robben Island, participate in the Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony for the Straits Chemicals at Coega Village in Port Elizabeth, visit the Gandhi Settlement and Luthuli Museum in Durban.

Economic Bilateral Relations

Singapore is an important country in Southeast Asia for South Africa not only because it occupies the top position in terms of total trade in the region, but also because of its role within ASEAN which could facilitate a broader FTA between ASEAN and SACU.

The visit by President Nathan to South Africa, marks a clear resurgence of interest in our bilateral relations.

South African Trade - SINGAPORE (.pdf)

YearSA Exports (R'000)SA Imports (R'000)Total Trade Trade BalanceDeficit/Surplus as % of Trade
Jan 2007204.139411.564615.703207.425 34%

South African Trade - SINGAPORE

Trade and Investment

The focus is to facilitate and promote trade and economic relations between South Africa and Singapore and to encourage interaction between their respective business communities. New investment clusters and zones will be identified to facilitate investment in infrastructure and enterprises including the tourism sector development such as hotel and resort development.

Trade and Investment South Africa is currently facilitating a Ship-building and repair project between IMBANI (South African company) and Samcorp (Singapore company). The dti, DBSA, IDC, Richards Bay Municipality and IMBANI visited Samcorp operations in Singapore last year (2006) as part of the due diligence process. The mission was led by Mayor Moffat from Richard's Bay Municipality. Richard's Bay IDZ has been identified as the preferred location for this investment project. The projected total investment of this project is estimated to be R2 billion. The dti, IDC, DBSA and the Richard's Bay Municipality are currently engaging with the National Port Authority (NPA) including Transnet in making sure that investment is realized.

In terms of inward investment, there is growing investment by Singapore into South Africa. Of note is the Straits Chemicals project worth R5,8 billion at Coega.

Media Programme for State Visit to South Africa by Singaporean President Sellapan Ramanathan, Wednesday 18 - Thursday 26 April 2007

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

17 April 2007

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