Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane arrives in Japan for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) follow-up meeting and to co-chair the South Africa-Japan partnership forum, 2 - 3 June 2011

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has today, 01 June 2011 arrived in Japan ahead of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Follow-up Meeting scheduled for 2-3 June in Tokyo, Japan.

The meeting is co-hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Accordingly discussions at the Meeting will focus on three issues, namely:

  • Closing the MDGs  Implementation Gap with Equity, Focus on the Vulnerable and the Perspective of Human Security
  • Strengthening Coordination among a Broad Range of Stakeholders
  • Accelerating results to achieve the MDGs by 2015 and Envisioning “Beyond 2015.”

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is scheduled to deliver an address during Plenary of the MDG Follow-up Meeting on 2 June 2011.

The 11th session of the South Africa-Japan Partnership Forum is scheduled to take place in Tokyo on 1-2 June 2011.  It is envisaged that Senior Officials of both Governments will convene on the first day of the Partnership Forum, 1 June 2011, in the following Working Groups:

  • Political and Security
  • Development Co-operation, Human Resources and Science and Technology
  • Economic Partnership
  • Trade and Investment
  • Climate Change

A Ministerial Bilateral Meeting is scheduled to take place between Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and her Japanese counterpart, Mr Takeaki Matsumoto, on 2 June 2011 at which the Technical Cooperation Agreement will be signed.  Agreement has also been reached on the text of a draft Agreement on Cooperation between the Customs Administrations of the two countries.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is also scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Priime Minister Naoto Kan and will meet key business leaders through the Keidanren, the most important business organisation in Japan. 

During the 10th SA-Japan Partnership Forum, co-Chaired by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and former Japanese Foreign Minister Okada, in April 2010, it was agreed to elevate the bilateral relationship to the level of a Strategic Co-operative Partnership. This was re-confirmed during Minister Okada’s courtesy call on President Zuma.

Japan has consistently been one of the three major trading partners of South Africa. The number of Japanese companies in South Africa rose to 102 in November 2010 (compared to 86 in November 2009). Japanese companies employ more than 150 000 South Africans and make a significant contribution with regard to job creation and skills transfer. An investment of R24bn was made in December 2010 when Nippon Telegraph and Telephone acquired Dimension Data. Toyota announced its intention to increase local content of its vehicles from 45% to 70%, and in addition made a further investment of R363m in January 2011 to build a new parts distribution warehouse in Ekurhuleni that will service the entire continent, and which created an additional 800 jobs. Mitsui and Toshiba, which have been building locomotives in partnership with Transnet Freight Rail have signed an agreement with Transnet to built an additional 32 locomotives (worth R1,55 bn).  These and other investments contribute strongly to promoting industrial development, job creation and skills development and thus support the New Growth Plan (NGP) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) 2.

In 2010, Japan retained its place as SA’s third largest export destination by country, and third overall two-way trade partner, with a healthy trade surplus for SA of R15,3bn, the only one of SA’s major trading partners with which SA enjoys a regular and large annual trade surplus.  Two-way trade in 2010 amounted to R77,3 bn.

South Africa and Japan share similar views on the importance of multilateralism and issues such as the reform of the UN to ensure the effective fulfilment of the organisation’s mandate, including that of the Security Council. Both countries have expressed their hopes of obtaining Permanent Seats on an enlarged Security Council.  During Minister Nkoana-Mashabane’s meeting with her Japanese counterpart on 30 April 2010, she indicated South Africa’s intention to seek election as a non-Permanent Member of the Security Council in 2011-2012. Japan subsequently voted for South Africa in the late-2010 elections to the Security Council.

Japan provides ongoing support for the continued development of the African continent through the TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) process, in line with the priorities identified by African leaders in the AU/NEPAD Africa Action Plan.  This assistance is provided in various forms, including inter alia in ODA grants, ODA loans for infrastructure projects and assistance for the consolidation of peace and the promotion of good governance, as well as skills development. 

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
460 Soutpansberg Road
Rietondale
Pretoria

01 June 2011

 

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