Press Release

17 May 2013

Deputy Minister Fransman returns from successful tour of Central and Eastern Europe

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman returned today, 17 May 2013, from a successful tour of Central and Eastern Europe where he visited Azerbajain, Belarus, the Czech Republic and Romania.

The objectives of the Deputy Minister's visit to the region, were to strengthen political, economic and commercial relations; to explore cooperation in education, skills development, science and technology, energy and mineral beneficiation, amongst others, and to exchange views in global governance issues of common interest.

During his visit to the Czech Republic on 15 May 2013, Deputy Minister Fransman held discussions with his counterpart, Mr Tomáš Dub, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr Milan Hovorka, the Deputy Minister of  Industry and Trade; and Mr Jiri Nantl, the first Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports with a view to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

In bilateral discussions with the Czech Republic's Foreign Ministry, the Deputy Ministers agreed to strengthen  cooperation in the following sectors: trade and investment; tourism; sports and culture; business and partnerships; education and skills development; science and technology; mineral beneficiation and energy; and health. It was agreed that  partnerships in these areas would be in line with the national development plans and   economic growth strategies of both South Africa and the Czech Republic.

It was further agreed that the South Africa-Czech Republic Joint Economic Committee whose objective is to promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation would be strengthened by implementing joint projects in  the field of energy (including renewable energy), agro-processing, mining and mineral resource beneficiation, information and communications technology (ICT), tourism, infrastructure development, water and waste management.

The Deputy Ministers exchanged views on multilateral and global governance issues and reaffirmed the interlinkages between human rights and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In Deputy Minister Fransman's bilateral meeting with the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr Milan Hovorka, the Deputy Ministers reinforced the imperative of strengthening mutually beneficial economic and commercial relations and technological cooperation through the South Africa-Czech Republic Joint Economic Committee.

It is envisaged that the Czech Republic's Industry and Trade Minister will visit South Africa later this year with a business delegation. The visit will further cement trade and business relations between the two countries and consider global economic governance issues of common interest.

Deputy Minister Fransman held fruitful discussions with Mr Jiri Nantl, the Czech Republic's first Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, who commended South Africa's National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The Deputy Ministers agreed that partnerships between South African and Czech academic institutions and science councils be prioritised and that student exchanges in the field of science and technology, vocational training, engineering, agriculture and medicine should be facilitated.

In addition to these bilateral consultations, Deputy Minister Fransman also  met with members of the Czech Republic's Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee and with representatives of the medical faculties of selected universities in the Czech Republic.

Deputy Minister Fransman also visited Bucharest, Romania on 16 May 2013, for political consultations with his Romanian counterpart, Mr Ovidiu Dranga, State Secretary for Global Affairs and with Prof. Gigel Paraschiv, Secretary of State for Higher Education.

During the Deputy Ministers' meeting, the two parties agreed to strenghten bilateral and economic relations, as well as  cooperation in education, skills development, health, agriculture, ICTs, mining, infrastructure development and transport.

Africa and regional issues were also discussed with a focus on multilateral topics, such as the South Africa and Africa-strategic partnerships with the European Union, and on global governance reform.

Deputy Minister Fransman also paid a courtesy call on Romania's Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean.

During the Deputy Minister's visit, a meeting with business representatives  was held where the South Africa-Romania Business Council was launched. The purpose of the Council will be to facilitate commercial relations and exchanges of information on economic and commercial opportunities between the two countries.

There are currently a number of South African-based companies operating in Romania in sectors such as engineering, retail, property investment, media, e-commerce and beverages.

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


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