Media Statement

20 March 2020

Minister Pandor and her German Counterpart, Mr Heiko Maas, co-chaired the Tenth Meeting of the South Africa-Germany Bi-National Commission, 20 March 2020

The Tenth Meeting of the South Africa – Germany Bi-National Commission, which is an instrument used to manage relations between South Africa and Germany, took place this morning, 20 March 2020, via a video conference.

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr. Naledi Pandor and German’s Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Heiko Maas, led the delegations from their countries and co-chaired the meeting.

Today’s meeting was the second meeting that Minister Pandor participated in, since the travel restrictions which were announced by the President due to the outbreak of the Covid 19. On Wednesday, Minister Pandor participated in the SADC Council of Minister’s Meeting, which linked together about 16 Ministers from the SADC region.

Ministers Pandor and Mass discussed and exchanged views on political and high-level bilateral issues. These include South Africa’s priorities as Chair of the African Union, Germany’s priorities as incoming chair of the European Union, Climate Change and Vocational Training.

Other issues the two ministers discussed relate to peace and security in Africa and Middle East, particularly how the two countries could cooperate to promote the resolution of such conflicts as well as the impact of Covid 19 on their respective communities and measure each country is taking to curb the spread of the epidemic.

Today’s meeting followed the successful visit to South Africa by the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel in February 2020.  The meeting took note of the outcomes of Chancellor Merkel’s visit and agreed on measures to ensure that the decisions made during this meeting between the Chancellor and the President of South Africa were implemented.

ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA AND GERMANY

South Africa and Germany enjoy a historical strategic relationship. Bilateral ties are multi-faceted and mutually beneficial. South Africa and Germany are both non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2019 – 2020 and cooperate well on issues that are on the UNSC agenda. 

It is envisaged that such cooperation will increase after South Africa became the Chair of the African Union in February 2020 and Germany will assume the Presidency of the European Union in July 2020.

South Africa and Germany also enjoy a robust economic relationship. The total trade has reached R234 billion, with South Africa’s exports exceeding R100 billion for the first time in 2019. Germany is also a significant investor in South Africa, with some six hundred companies represented in South Africa. About 323,000 German nationals visit South Africa in 2019, making it the third-largest source of overseas tourists. Germany also has an extensive development programme in South Africa.

The Bi-National Commission comprises of eight Working Groups, which have already met to review the status of relations and to identify additional areas of cooperation. The Working Groups are Foreign and Security Policy, Economy and Energy, Development Cooperation, Environment, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, Labour and Social Affairs, Vocational Education and Training.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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