Media Statement

07 November 2022

Deputy Minister Alvin Botes to host the Fourth Meeting of South Africa – Belgium Joint Commission

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, will host the Fourth Meeting of the South Africa – Belgium Joint Commission in Pretoria on 08 November 2022. The Belgian delegation will be led by Ms Theodora Gentzis, the Acting President of the Board of the Federal Public Service: Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

The Joint Commission (JC) is the principal instrument for managing relations between South Africa and Belgium and it has several technical working groups dealing with issues such as Higher Education, Science, and Innovation; Climate Change; as well as Trade and Investment.

In addition to considering the reports from the Working Groups, the Commission will also discuss international and multilateral developments and their impact. Both countries will become members of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 1 January 2023 and ways to cooperate within this forum will be discussed.

Belgium is one of South Africa’s most important economic partners. It is an important trading partner, a source of investment, and a source of tourism. There is good cooperation in several areas, particularly in the fields of science and innovation, and a partner in vaccine manufacturing.

Total trade reached R79 billion over the twelve months to the end of June 2022 with South Africa enjoying a healthy trade surplus. South Africa’s main export to Belgium is organic chemicals, while pharmaceutical products are the main import. Belgium is traditionally also a major source of tourists to South Africa. In pre-pandemic years, South Africa received about 55,000 Belgian tourists a year. This number declined in 2020 and 2021 but is recovering this year, especially after Air Belgium introduced direct flights between Brussels, Johannesburg, and Cape Town in September 2022.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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