Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to strengthen SA-US Bilateral ties in a Strategic Dialogue scheduled for 14 December 2010
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, arrived during the early hours of this morning, 13 December 2010, in Washington to hold meetings with her US counterpart, Ms Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State. The meetings, held under the auspices of the South Africa-United States Strategic Dialogue, are aimed at strengthening political and economic relations between the two countries, and also to enhance cooperation in accordance with the SA Government’s identified top five priorities and foreign policy objectives.
Relations between South Africa and the United States have been very positive during the Administrations of Presidents Jacob G. Zuma and Barak Obama. High level visits and interactions have characterised relations and invoked the necessary political will to achieve more concrete cooperation in the SA government’s identified priority areas and issues of mutual concern. Since Secretary Clinton’s last Bilateral Working Visit in August 2009, the Strategic Dialogue was established in April 2010 and various Working Groups were formed/ formalised under the Annual Bilateral Forum (ABF) in the areas of Health, Education, Agriculture, Safety and Security, Multilateral and Third Country Issues, and Energy and Environment.
During the meeting between Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and the US Vice President Joe Biden the outcomes of discussions further reiterated the strong bilateral ties between the two countries and the President Obama Administration’s willingness to partner with South Africa both domestically and regionally.
Before the recent global financial crisis, trade between SA and the US had been growing at a steady rate. In 2007, trade between South Africa and the US amounted to approximately R 95 billion with South Africa enjoying a trade surplus of approximately R 9.6 billion. Despite the recent global economic crisis, total trade for 2009 amounted to approximately R 83.4 billion with South Africa still enjoying a trade surplus (albeit relatively smaller) of R 303 million. This saw SA’s exports to the US as the second largest after China and SA’s imports from the US as the third largest after China and Germany.
Furthermore, tourists arriving from the US to South Africa for 2009 amounted to 262 866, which was the second largest number of tourists after the UK’s 486 692.
The US is currently the largest portfolio investor and second largest source of foreign direct investment in SA after the UK, with total US Portfolio investment amounting to $41.0 billion as of December 2008, and total US foreign direct investment amounting to $5.7 billion.
Total Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the US in 2009 amounted to approximately $681.9 million towards several South African Government priorities, with most of it directed towards health care, with specific emphasis to HIV/AIDS and TB prevention.
One of the major highlights in SA-US relations currently is that the US has also identified SA’s top priorities and has made all efforts to align its programmes and projects with these. In this regard much cooperation exists in the areas of health through the President'sEmergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Partnership Framework and police training. The facilitation of Development Aid has also reached a milestone in that the US has adopted the use of South Africa’s country systems with further negotiations taking place to increasingly channel aid through government. Trilateral cooperation projects in the region in the area of food security have also been spearheaded, recording much success, and presenting clear opportunities for even more cooperation in this regard.
The Minister is accompanied by the Director-General, Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba; South Africa’s Ambassador to the US, Mr Ebrahim Rasool; South Africa’s Ambassador to the UN, Mr Baso Sangqu; Deputy Director-General (DDG): Americas and the Caribbean, Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko; Mr George Nene, DDG: Multilateral; Department of Trade and Industry’s DDG, Xavier Carim; Department of Transport’s DDGs, Mr Lawrence Venkile and Ms Hillaren Lerato Molebatsi; Deputy National Commissioner for the South African Police Service, Ms Bonang Mgwenya; Dr Thobile Mbengashe from the Department of Health; and senior Government officials.
For more information, please speak to DIRCO’s Spokesperson, Mr Clayson Monyela, at 082 884 5974.
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
460 OR Tambo Building
13 December 2010