Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to meet Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen in Cape Town, 18 March 2010.

His Excellency Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will receive Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen at Tuynhuis in Cape Town, who will be on official visit to South Africa from 17-18 March 2010, accompanied by Finnish business delegation. 
               
The visit to South Africa by the Finnish Prime Minister takes place within the context of consolidating bilateral relations between the two countries and strengthening North-South dialogue. Accordingly, discussions between Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen will focus on, among others, the following areas:

Bilateral Relations – Review of South Africa– Finland bilateral relations; South African National Priorities; Implementation of the Declaration of Intent on Bilateral Relations and the Strengthening of Partnerships.
Regional Issues - Conflict areas in Africa and briefing on the latest developments in Zimbabwe.
Multilateral Issues - South Africa’s Proposed Candidature for a Non-Permanent Seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2011 – 2012; UN reforms; and Climate Change.
Prime Minister Vanhanen’s visit to South Africa follows the signing of three Declarations in 2009, 2008, and 2000, namely the Declaration of Intent on the Deepening of Bilateral Relations and the Strengthening of Partnerships signed on 2 March 2009; the Declaration of Intent between South Africa and the Governments of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden on Partnerships in Africa signed on 9 June 2008; and the Declaration of Intent on Bilateral Consultations signed on 8 June 2000

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen is expected to visit the headquarters of the Finnish company Metso as well as a luncheon co-hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Finnish Chamber of Commerce.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and Finland.

Relations between Finland and South Africa remain strong and cordial. Finland has provided South Africa with unequivocal support which manifested in its assistance in various forms for the anti-apartheid struggle. The Finns recognised the importance of the reconstruction and development period in South Africa and, in relation to their economic means, their contribution in this regard has been sizeable. Finland also supported South Africa in multilateral fora, such as the EU and the UN.

As a result of South Africa's growing regional and international stature, internal stability and economic growth, Finland has been keen to explore ways to expand the existing relationship. The country also sees South Africa as playing a key role in the development of its relationship with Sub-Saharan Africa.

Economic Relations
 
South Africa and Finland have extensive trade and economic relations.  The trade balance between South Africa and Finland continues to be in Finland’s favour. South Africa's most important exports to Finland are paper pulp, dried and fresh fruits, iron and steel and alcoholic beverages.  Finland's most important export products to South Africa are telecommunication equipment, machinery and paper and paperboard products. South Africa was Finland's second largest trade partner in the group of developing countries and constituted just less than 1 percent of Finland's total foreign trade.

South African exports to Finland have increased from R163.337 million in 2000 to R675.788 million in 2009 while imports from Finland increased from R2.567 billion in 2000 to R3.253 billion in 2009. The trade balance between South Africa and Finland in 2009 was –R2.577 billion.

Finnish exports to South Africa have decreased by 20% in the last year, while South African exports to Finland have increased by 60% in the same period. This figure suggests that the majority of trade from Finland consists of investment goods, which have been hard hit by the financial crisis.  There are over 30 Finnish companies with investments in South Africa, and over 100 companies working through agents.

Development Cooperation

South Africa stands to benefit in Finland’s plan to increase its development cooperation in future to 0.55% of GDP. 60% of Finland’s development cooperation is bilateral in nature and 60% of all bilateral cooperation goes to Africa. In 2007, Finland adopted a new policy that emphasises sustainable development as well as the role that enterprises and the private sector can play. In terms of the new development cooperation guidelines for Africa, Finland hopes to encourage and support regional integration.

Media programme

Date: 18 March 2010
Venue: Tuynhuys, Cape Town
Time: 09h30

Programme

09h00: Members of the media to arrive ahead of Prime Minister Vanhanen
10h30: Welcome Ceremony. 
10h45: Photo opportunity at the opening of the bilateral meeting
11h45: Press Conference
12h15: Toast remarks during the luncheon
End of Media Programme 

RSVP with Nthabiseng Rantau on 082 570 5503/ Nthabiseng@po.gov.za.
For further info please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy Kgomotso Saul Molobi on 082 940 1647.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag x152
Pretoria
0001

17 March 2010

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