Bilateral Meeting between Deputy Minister Ebrahim and the United Kingdom Minister for Africa, Mr Henry Bellingham, 1 December 2010

Pretoria – International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim I Ebrahim had bilateral discussions with the UK Minister for Africa Mr Henry Bellingham, which took place on Wednesday, 1 December 2010, at the DIRCO offices in Pretoria.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim’s meeting with Minister Bellingham took place 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. This visit by the UK Minister for Africa is a continuation of the bilateral dialogue flowing from the State Visit to the UK in March of this year, followed by the working visit of Deputy President Motlanthe in September.

Discussions between Deputy Minister Ebrahim and Minister Bellingham included amongst others:-

  • The strengthening of bilateral political and economic relations;

  • Climate Change;

  • UNSC collaboration; and

  • The African Regional matters and the United Kingdom’s engagement in support of the African Agenda – Great Lakes, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Sudan and Somalia.

Minister Bellingham congratulated South Africa on its return to the UNSC after a short absence and with such an overwhelming vote in its favour. He also expressed Britain’s firm commitment to closely collaborate with South Africa and to share views on matters of mutual concern.

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. 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.

Minister Bellingham reiterated Britain’s commitment to strive for the realisation of the goal set by President Zuma during the State Visit in March 2010, to double trade between the two nations by 2015.

Development Co-operation

Deputy Minister Ebrahim expressed appreciation for the UK’s commitment to maintain International Development assistance at a level of 0.7% of GNI, even in these harsh economic times. 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 focusing 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 Minister’s Bellingham’s first official visit to South Africa, since his appointment as the Minister for Africa on 14 May 2010.   

For further information please contact Spokesperson Clayson Monyela, on 082 806 7405.

Issued by Department of International Relations and Cooperation
460 Soutpansberg Road

02 December 2010

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