Deputy Minister Ebrahim to host United Kingdom Minister for Africa, Mr Henry Bellingham

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim I Ebrahim will on Wednesday, 1 December 2010, host the UK Minister for Africa Mr Henry Bellingham for bilateral political and economic discussions at the DIRCO offices in Pretoria. Mr Bellingham will pay an official visit to South Africa from Wednesday to Saturday, 1 – 5 December 2010.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim will meet Minister Bellingham 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.

Discussions between Deputy Minister Ebrahim and Minister Bellingham are expected to include, the strengthening of bilateral political and economic relations; Climate Change; International Institutional Reform – G20 and UNSC; African Regional matters and the United Kingdom’s engagement in support of the African Agenda – Great Lakes, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Sudan, Somalia and other matters of mutual concern.

Mr Bellingham will officially depart from South Africa on Saturday, 5 December 2010. 

Economic Bilateral Relations

The UK is one of SA's major foreign trading partners and trade between the two countries is at the centre of relations between the two countries. There is a healthy flow of investment in both directions. The UK remains one of the top two largest foreign investors in SA and there are over 200 South African companies that have established a presence in the UK. 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 2009 the UK was South Africa’s fifth export partner in the world (after China, the US, Japan and Germany), with exports valued at R25.350 billion and imports from the UK at R21.596 billion.

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, with close to a half a million UK visitors per year

Development Co-operation

The UK Government, primarily through the Department for International Development (DFID) provides aid to developing countries across Africa. DFID  contributes £20 million a year towards regional programmes in South Africa as part of its Southern African programmes
In South Africa, DFID-SA has provided support to help the Government achieve the priorities set out in its Programme of Action.

DFID currently have a number of operational projects in South Africa which include both civil society and government. These projects focus on the following areas:

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

This is Mr Bellingham’s first official visit to South Africa, since his appointment as the Minister for Africa on 14 May 2010.   

For more information, please contact the Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi, on +27 82 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or e-mail him at

All journalists wishing to cover the event at 14h30 at the DIRCO Pretoria offices should please call Ms Nthabiseng Ramatshela, Media Liaison on 082 675 0893 or email her at

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation
OR Tambo Building
Private Bag x152
Pretoria, RSA

30 November 2010


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