International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim I. Ebrahim met with the Greek Deputy Minister Dimitrios Dollis in Athens, Greece, this afternoon, 30 June 2011

The Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim I. Ebrahim, met this afternoon, 30 June 2011, with the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, Mr Dimitrios Dollis. South Africa’s Deputy Minister is on a three day working visit to Greece to promote and strengthen bilateral relations with the country in support of South Africa’s five national priorities; strengthen mutual understanding and co-operation on issues of global concern, including those of governance and climate change. The meeting between the two political principals also focused on the situation in Libya and Zimbabwe; and beyond the Cyprus question, they also discussed the mechanisms for possible resolution of the Palestinian and the Western Sahara questions.

Relations between South Africa and Greece are sound and cordial. In January 2010 then Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Sue van der Merwe, held a meeting with the Greek Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Theocharopoulos during which various issues of a bilateral and multilateral nature were discussed. Greece also requested South Africa for its support for its candidature to the Human Rights Council for the period 2012 to 2015.

During 2010, two South African cabinet ministers visited Greece on official business. In February 2010 the Minister of Correctional Services, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, visited Greece for meetings with her Greek counterpart. It was agreed during the visit that South Africa and Greece would investigate the possibility of signing a MoU to strengthen cooperation in the field of Correctional Services. In April 2010 the Deputy Tourism Minister, Ms Tokozile Xasa paid an official visit to Greece that included meetings with the Greek Deputy Tourism Minister as well as with the National Tourism Board of Greece (EOT). It was agreed between the two Deputy Ministers that the existing bilateral Tourism Agreement between South Africa and Greece would be reviewed in order to further strengthen bilateral tourism relations.           

It was reported that President JG Zuma and the Greek Prime Minister, Mr George Papandreou met in November 2010 on the sidelines of the Third EU-Africa Summit in Tripoli, Libya.

Trade relations with South Africa

Greece ratified the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) which serves as a framework for co-operation between South Africa and the EU. During 2009, South African exports to Greece amounted to R370, 215 million against R1, 332,622 million in 2008, while Greek exports to South Africa in 2009 amounted to R262, 380 million against R298, 168 million in 2008. The total two-way trade for 2009 amounted to R632, 595 million, for the period 1999-2002, with US$252m (R1, 6bn). Foreign direct investment from Greece to South Africa is estimated, until now, at Euro 280 million. Such investments primarily appeared to be targeted at financial services, shipping, foodstuffs, manufactured products and commerce. More recently, a Greek company, Intralot, won the contract to administer the public lottery in South Africa and has made considerable investment in the context of that contract. Greek companies who have already invested in South Africa include Frigoglass, Germanos SA, Petzetakis, Palace SA and Trade SA. The Bank of Athens is also based in Johannesburg with 12 branches in the rest of South Africa. 

The bilateral trade balance continues showing a surplus for South Africa. Total trade in 2009 decreased substantially in comparison to 2008, 2007 and 2006. The main reason for this is that during this three year period South Africa exported high value capital equipment to Greece for infrastructure projects. Greece during 2007 exported electronic equipment that was installed for the Lotto operation in South Africa. The figures for 2010 showed a further slight increase in South Africa’s favour.       

With respect to tourism, a total of 8169 Greek passport holders visited South Africa during 2010, an increase from the 7291 visitors who came to the country in 2009. The increase was mainly due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The Deputy Minister is accompanied by Ambassador Sophonia Makgetla, South Africa’s Ambassador to Greece and non-accredited ambassador-designate to Cyprus; DIRCO’s Ambassador Rapulane Molekane, Deputy Director-General: Europe and other senior government officials.

In the early evening of today, the Deputy Minister also attended the reception – at the invitation of Mrs Joanna Despotopoulou, President of the GOC Athens 2011 – in honour of the Special Olympics MVPs. Greece is currently hosting the XVIII Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens – and a number of South African athletes are participating in the games.

For further information please contact Mr. Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
Private Bag x152
Pretoria
0001

30 June 2011


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