Strengthening of the South African Government’s South-South Relations over the past Ten Months according to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s revised Strategic Objectives

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 463

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 4 OF 26 FEBRUARY 2010

Mr L S Ngonyama (Cope) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

Whether, in line with her department’s revised strategic objectives, her department has enabled the Government to strengthen South-South relations over the past ten months in order to enhance interdependence among member countries with a view to meeting common socioeconomic challenges; if not, why not; if so, (a) which countries are now working in closer partnership with the Government to address poverty and (b) how did poor communities benefit?

REPLY:

Yes

A)

South Africa is extensively engaging other countries of the South, both bilaterally and within appropriate South-South fora, such as the India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Forum; the New Africa Asia Strategic Partnership Forum (NAASP) and the Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) to promote mutual economic development, inter alia aimed at addressing poverty. 

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation understands that ALL government priorities must receive urgent attention and therefore all priorities are urgently addressed in all bilateral mechanisms such as Joint Commissions.

B)

Poor communities benefit when such cooperation leads to the creation of decent work, the provision of better skills and rural development.

Due to the nature of multilateral processes, it should be noted that it is particularly  difficult to quantify with any degree of certainty the impact of multilateral efforts towards poverty alleviation or community development, especially at the national level. Multilateralism does, however, contribute towards the creation of an enabling international environment wherein countries are able to develop and strengthen partnerships for the mutual advancement of their economic development and, thereby, over the medium-to-long-term, national socio-economic challenges and development priorities can be addressed. In order to strengthen South-South Cooperation, the Department’s strategic objectives include working with countries of the South to create political, economic and social convergence for the fight against poverty, underdevelopment and marginalization of the South. In this regard, several Ministerial and Summit meetings of the groupings of the South, the UN and other multilateral and inter-continental arrangements were attended at the Head of State or Ministerial level during the ten-month period referred to in the question.

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