Deputy Minister Ebrahim to host United Kingdom Minister for Africa Baroness Kinnock

Pretoria –International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim I Ebrahim will on Monday, 2 November 2009, host the UK Minister for Africa Baroness Glenys Kinnock for bilateral political and economic discussions at the DIRCO offices in Pretoria. Minister Baroness Kinnock will pay an official visit to South Africa from Monday to Tuesday, 2 – 3 November 2009.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim will meet Minister Baroness Kinnock within the context of strengthening North-South relations and consolidating the African Agenda.  Bilateral relations between South Africa and the United Kingdom are strong across the board, covering fields as diverse as defence, trade liberalisation and development co-operation. The frequent high level visits in both directions underline this.

Minister Baroness Kinnock is expected to pay a courtesy call on the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane during her official visit to South Africa.

Discussions between Deputy Minister Ebrahim and Minister Baroness Kinnock are expected to include:

  • The strengthening of bilateral political and economic relations;
  • Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting - CHOGM;
  • Climate Change, Copenhagen Summit;
  • International Institutional Reform – G20 and IFI Reform;
  • African Regional matters and United Kingdom’s engagement in support of the African Agenda – Great Lakes, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Sudan, Somali and Kenya;
  • Counter-proliferation – NPT including Iran – Nuclear issues;
  • Middle East Peace Process; and
  • Afghanistan.

Economic Bilateral Relations

South Africa and the UK have extensive trade and economic relations which continue to strengthen. Total trade between the UK and South Africa increased by over 100% (173%) between 1998 and 2008, from R25.492 billion to R69.630 billion.  In 2007 the UK was South Africa’s fourth export partner in the world (after Japan, the US and Germany), with exports valued at R34.62 billion and imports from UK at R27.288 billion. Exports have been increasing steadily and consistently over the years and account for the continuing increase in total bilateral trade with the UK.
SA’s biggest imports from the UK are turbo jets, turbo propellers, gas turbines, machinery, mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, vehicles (including aircraft and vessels), chemicals and allied products.
The exports to the UK are dominated by natural and precious stones, mineral products, vehicles (including vessels), machinery and mechanical products, fruit and vegetable products, base metals and articles, prepared foodstuffs and beverages which cumulatively account for 90% of SA’s exports to the UK.

South Africa is regarded as a world class tourist destination by British tourists. The United Kingdom is by far South Africa’s most significant source of (non-African) tourists, a position it has held for the past 15 years.
According to SA Tourism, the number of tourists from the United Kingdom, from January to October 2002 was 338, 853.
In 2007 the figure increased to 497 687, but due to the recent economic recession the figure for 2008 decreased to 485 166.

Development Co-operation

The UK Government, primarily through the Department For International Development (DFID) provides aid to developing countries across Africa.

Over the next five years, DFID will contribute £20 million a year towards regional programmes in South Africa as part of the £100 million package for Southern Africa.
In South Africa, DFID-SA has provided support to help the Government achieve the priorities set out in its Programme of Action. Its support has focused on three main themes:

  • Promoting Growth, Jobs and Equity: Programmes to support South Africa in developing policies to increase growth, investment and employment, and address inequality.
  • Governance and Service Delivery: Programmes aimed at helping local government deliver basic services such as water and sanitation, education and health more effectively.
  • HIV/AIDS: Programmes to support Government and its civil society partners in developing HIV/AIDS policy and prevention and care strategies.

This is Baroness Kinnock’s first official visit to South Africa, since her appointment as the Minister for Africa on 12 October 2009.    

Issued by Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152

30 October 2009

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