Press Release

01 March 2013

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to host the Prime Minister of Denmark, Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt

The Prime Minister of Denmark, Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt, is scheduled to undertake a working visit to South Africa on 03-05 March 2013.

On 04 March 2013, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will meet the Prime Minister in order to exchange views on bilateral, regional and international issues of common interest between the two countries.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and Denmark are predicated on the historic Danish support and solidarity with the liberation struggle against apartheid leading to the eventual establishment of formal diplomatic relations at the advent of South Africa’s democracy.

In 2000 former President Thabo Mbeki attended the Nordic Summit in Denmark and in October 2011, Deputy President Motlanthe visited Denmark on a working visit. However, the two countries have not yet exchanged visits at the level of Heads of State.

The Nordic countries regard South Africa as an upper middle income country. In this regard, the Nordic countries entered into a Declaration of Intent with South Africa in June 2008 transforming cooperation with South Africa from bilateral donor-recipient relationship to tri-lateral arrangement on the African continent in the context of supporting the African agenda.

One specific area of potential strength in the bilateral relations between South Africa and Denmark, is opportunities in the development of the energy sector, particularly in the field of renewable energy such as wind and solar energy, as well as energy efficiency technology. Denmark aspires to become the world leader in sustainable energy technology and green business.   Negotiations for the signing of an Agreement on Financial and Technical Support for the Development of the Renewable Energy Sector in South Africa are at an advanced stage. This agreement is expected to cover, inter alia, technical assistance and funding for South Africa’s wind atlas project.

South Africa’s total exports to Denmark amounted to R1.06 billion in 2012. Imports from Denmark amounted to R2, 5 billion over the same period, registering an increase of 5.9%. Meanwhile, tourism data shows that on average, around 23 000 Danish citizens land on South Africa’s shores annually. The bilateral trade and investment data underscore the need for a focused, high-level bilateral political and business engagement between the two countries and should ideally reflect the historic nature of our relations.

As a further indication of the existing mutual bonds of friendship, the Prime Minister’s programme in South Africa will, inter alia, include engagements with the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) to consolidate the historical political relations at the party political level.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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