23 August 2019
President Ramaphosa undertakes Working Visits to France, Japan
President Cyril Ramaphosa will undertake working visits to France and Japan from 24 to 30 August 2019 to participate in a G7 Summit that will focus on eliminating inequalities globally, and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VII) Summit that will strengthen partnership between Japan and African states.
The working visits will also provide a platform for President Ramaphosa and members of Cabinet to invite global partners to experience South Africa as an investment destination and trade partner, and to participate in the country’s efforts to secure faster, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and reduce unemployment.
The thematic focus of the 2019 G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, on 25 and 26 August 2019 is the reduction of inequalities prevailing around the world.
The G7 is a forum of the seven countries with the world's most industrialized and developed economies - France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada - whose government leaders meet annually to discuss important global economic, political, social and security issues.
Together, the G7 countries represent approximately 30% to 40% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and 10% of the world’s population. The G7 Presidency, which rotates annually among its Member States, is responsible for setting the agenda of each year’s summit.
France has invited major economies with regional influence as well as strategic African partners and key representatives of civil society, to build a renewed partnership and form coalitions around projects and solutions to combat inequality more effectively.
The Summit will deliberate all manifestations of inequality – social, economic, environmental and in other dimensions – globally.
G7 proceedings under the French presidency are structured into three tracks: G7 and Africa Partnership (South Africa, Rwanda, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Senegal and the Chair of the African Union Commission); G7 and four Biarritz Partners (South Africa, India, Australia and Chile), and G7 and all partners.
President Macron has invited President Ramaphosa to the three working sessions that the G7 countries will host with their partners.
The first session will deal with “Freedoms within the digital world” under the G7 and four Biarritz Partners track.
The second session will be dedicated to the G7 partnership with Africa, for which G7 countries aim to define a new goal of serving development and peace throughout the continent. This session will see engagement among the G7 and African Partners.
The third working session and one in which civil society will participate, will address environmental issues, and more specifically the preservation of biodiversity, climate and oceans.
In terms of climate change and the advancing shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, South Africa believes the energy transition should be a just transition in which workers’ livelihoods are protected, working conditions are fair and people are reskilled for participation in emerging industries. The transition to new sources of energy should also benefit all sectors of society.
South Africa will utilise the G7 forum to promote its economic agenda, and particularly to promote itself as a major investment destination; further the interests of the African Union which it will chair in 2020, and collaborate with other developing countries that have been invited to participate in the 2019 G7 in order to advance Africa’s developmental agenda.
The Summit is expected to produce a range of declarations that will form the basis of action plans for addressing the challenges and embracing opportunities identified during the Biarritz deliberations.
President Ramaphosa will be accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor and Minister of Communications and Telecommunications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
President Ramaphosa will travel from France to Japan to participate in the TICAD VII Summit in Yokohama from 28 to 30 August 2019.
The Tokyo International Conference on African Development will be convened under the theme of “Advancing Africa’s Development through Technology, Innovation and People”.
TICAD is a multilateral leaders’ forum on African development that was first convened in 1993 in Japan.
TICAD VII has identified three overarching priorities, namely accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement; deepening sustainable and resilient society, and strengthening peace and stability.
The Summit will focus on science, technology and innovation; human resource development and education; the oceans economy; climate change and disaster risk reduction, and agriculture.
South Africa views the partnership between Japan and the African continent as an enabler for infrastructure development and industrialisation throughout the continent.
President Ramaphosa will also on the margins of TICAD address an investment event convened by the Department of Trade and Industry.
More than 140 Japanese companies have an investment footprint in South Africa totalling more than R90 billion.
The government of Japan as well as the country’s corporate sector view South Africa as a strategic partner on the African continent and within the context of the programmes and activities of TICAD.
President Ramaphosa is expected to have a number of bilateral engagements with counterparts attending the Summit.
On Wednesday 28 August, the President will participate in a South Africa-Japan business roundtable to be hosted at the headquarters of the Nissan Corporation and in which a South African business delegation will engage with their counterparts in Japanese commerce and industry.
On the same day, the President will also address a Summit forum on Science and Technology in Society and will co-hair a plenary session on economic transformation.
On 29 August the President will participate in a public-private business dialogue coordinated by Trade and Investment South Africa, an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry.
The President will also have an engagement with the Japan External Trade Organisation, a government-related organisation that promotes mutually beneficial trade and investment relations between Japan and other nations.
President Ramaphosa will be accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor; Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel and Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Dr Blade Nzimande.
Media enquiries: Khusela Diko, Spokesperson to the President – 072 854 5707
Issued by The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa