Deputy President Baleka Mbete to hold Bilateral Discussions with Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson

Pretoria – Deputy President Baleka Mbete will tomorrow, Monday 12 January 2009, hold bilateral political, trade and economic discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden,  Maud Olofsson, at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Deputy President Mbete will participate in the meeting within the context of South Africa’s commitment to strengthening its bilateral relations with Sweden by amongst others consolidating the outcomes of the 2007 Bi-National Commission (BNC).

The meeting on Monday will also seek to achieve Swedish support of the African Agenda and to promote economic relations, with special emphasis on investment.

Deputy Prime Minister Olofsson, who has been in South Africa on a private holiday in Gauteng and the Western Cape, requested the meeting with Deputy President Mbete to establish contact as they are the co-chairs of the South African–Swedish BNC.

Sweden will also take over the rotating Presidency of the European Union (EU) in July 2009 when the Czech Republic’s term ends.

Bilateral Relations

South Africa and Sweden share close relations dating back centuries, and Sweden and other Nordic countries provided crucial support to the anti-apartheid struggle.

In this regard an immense amount of development cooperation funding was channelled to the liberation movements and support was given in many different forms, including taking in many exiles.

Since 1994 the development cooperation was given on a government-to-government basis with far over a billion rand being allocated over the past fourteen years, covering a range of support to central government, provincial and local authorities as well as NGOs.

The Swedish government has made it a priority commitment to build up a partnership with South Africa as part of the Swedish Government’s Africa policy. Sweden has also indicated that it will be transforming its development cooperation relations with South Africa, with a greater emphasis in future on a partnership with South Africa in joint trilateral projects regionally in Africa.

The South Africa-Sweden BNC was established in 2000 and has since met in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007.  The next meeting has been postponed to early 2010 due to Sweden’s Presidency of the EU in the latter half of 2009.

Bilateral Trade

The trade balance between South Africa and Sweden continues to be heavily in Sweden’s favour. The main trade sectors, both in imports and exports, include manufactured goods, machinery, automotive and transport goods, mining equipment and chemicals & fuel products.

South African exports to Sweden have increased from R1 046 906 000 in 2000 to R2 720 555 705 between January and September 2008, while imports from Sweden increased from R2 902 935 000 in 2000 to R10 126 040 425 between January and September 2008.

Enquiries: Nomfanelo Kota on 082 4593787

Issued by:
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

11 January 2009

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