Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane successfully concluded her Visit to the United Kingdom

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has concluded a successful visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where she attended the 9th SA-UK Bilateral Forum held at Lancaster House in London.

Minister’s visit to the United Kingdom was within the context of strengthening political and bilateral relations between the two countries.

Since the last Bilateral Forum held in Pretoria in 2008, the relationship between the two countries has entered a dynamic new phase.  President Zuma’s State Visit to the United Kingdom in March 2010 was significant in setting challenging new targets. 

South Africa is an important partner for the United Kingdom in number of key areas. Ties between the two countries go much further, and include shared language and cultural links, similar systems of law and finance, and a shared passion for sport. Both countries also share a common interest in promoting trade and a rules-based international system.

During interactions, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and her British counterpart William Hague committed both countries to work together to build strong, sustainable and inclusive economies that promote national economic stability, regional and international growth, and bilateral business links between South Africa and the United Kingdom.

In this regard, Ministers recommitted to the target of doubling bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and South Africa by 2015. In particular, they agreed to focus on building trade and investment in the following sectors: infrastructure/engineering; higher education and skills; energy; natural resources; ICT; financial services; and health.

In support of the continued South African development, the United Kingdom, through its Department for International Development’s (DFID) bilateral country programme, committed £76 million (2011 – 2015) to support the Government of South Africa in: boosting growth and jobs; improving health; tackling climate change; and reducing violence against women. The United Kingdom also announced a £1.5 million Prosperity Fund to support projects in South Africa that are linked to low carbon growth, trade and prosperity.    

The Ministers also emphasised the importance of increasing intra and inter regional trade in Africa for the benefit of the continent’s people. To this end, the United Kingdom welcomed South Africa’s championing of the North-South Corridor’s infrastructure and committed to continuing the United Kingdom’s support of African efforts to build a Tripartite Africa Free Trade Area.

Furthermore, the Ministers committed both countries to work towards a stronger, rules-based international system, and equal societies with citizens better equipped to achieve their aspirations, reflecting shared values of justice, democracy, human rights, cultural diversity and poverty reduction.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane further described the 9th Bilateral Forum as an important milestone in the relations between the two countries as its main thrust was to implement the ideals expressed in the Joint Declaration as adopted at the end of President Jacob G. Zuma’s State Visit to the UK in 2010.

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane’s delegation included Minister Edna Molewa, Environmental and Water Affairs; Minister Susan Shabangu, Mineral Resources and Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe, Trade and Industry and several senior government officials. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is expected home on Friday, 10 June 2011.

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

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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460 Soutpansberg Road
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10 June 2011

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