Incoming Visit of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Institutional Reform, Mr Steven Vanackere of the Kingdom of Belgium

Minister Steven Vanackere is paying an official visit to South Africa at the invitation of Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane from this week until 4 November 2010 – he arrived in the country yesterday. The primary purpose of the visit is to continue the deliberations that they had during their meeting on the fringes of the Official Visit of President Jacob Zuma in Belgium on 27-30 September 2010.

The visit takes place within the context of strengthening relations with strategic formations of the North with the objective of deepening and broadening the current bilateral relations between South Africa and the Kingdom of Belgium. Minister Vanackere will have an audience with Minister Nkoana-Mashabane on 2 November 2010 in Pretoria. Minister Vanackere will also have discussions with the Minister of Defense and Military Veterans, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, as well as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation on 3 November 2010 in Cape Town.

Minister Vanackere’ visit will culminate in Port Elizabeth where he will visit the COEGA Development Corporation. There he will do a site visit to the Electrawinds farm, the first wind energy project on the African continent using Belgian technology. The windfarm signals Belgium’s contribution to alternative sources of energy and its efforts to contribute meaningfully to combat climate change.

Belgium is among South Africa’s top ten trading partners and the eighth fastest growing export destination. The European Union is the number one destination for South African exports and Belgian ports remain an important entry point through which South African exports find their way to countries, both within and outside of the EU. Main export products from South Africa to Belgium include rough diamonds, iron, fresh fruit, bituminous coal, other ores; and manganese dioxide. Value-added exports primarily include automotive components, catalytic converters, as well as transport containers, road wheels and parts and accessories thereof.

Accordingly, the objectives of the visit will include:

  • the consolidation and enhancement of political relations (bilateral and multilateral),
  • the strengthening of economic and commercial relations,
  • To strengthen development cooperation and partnership in support of South Africa’s national priorities,
  • trilateral co-operation to promote peace and stability of the African continent.

The expected outcome of the visit will include, among others, the following:

  • reinvigorated bilateral relations between South Africa and Belgium.
  • Belgium’s recommitment to its involvement towards the continued prioritisation of the African Agenda: Belgian support for peace and security and development in South Africa, the SADC Region and the African continent. 

For more information, please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi, on +27 351 0083, +27 82 940 1647 or email him at

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

31 October 2010

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