Media Statement

15 October 2022

Deputy Minister Botes concludes his Working Visit to the Czech Republic and Lithuania

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, has concluded his Working Visit to the Czech Republic and Lithuania for Bilateral Political Consultations.

The Deputy Minister commenced his visit in Prague on 10 and 11 October 2022, where he met with his Czech counterpart, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Martin Tlapa.

The meeting focussed on regional and global issues of common interest, including the situation in Ukraine.

The two countries agreed to deepen economic relations by convening the Fifth South Africa – Czech Republic Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation (JCEC) in 2023, expanding investment in areas that include infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, and labour-intensive sectors in line with the priorities of the Government’s Economic Reconstruction & Recovery Plan (ERRP).

Furthermore, the outcomes of the Bilateral Consultation included expanding cooperation in science, technology, and innovation to enhance economic development.

Bilateral trade between the two countries is on a growth tangent, with South Africa’s exports to the Czech Republic demonstrating resilience in both 2020 and 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted global value chains. Total Trade between South Africa and the Czech Republic in 2021 amounted to R21 billion, making the Czech Republic South Africa’s 29th largest export destination in the world.

The Deputy Minister concluded his visit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he met with his counterpart, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mantas Adomenas, and the Vice Minister of Economy and Innovation, Ms Egle Markeviciute. The meetings discussed issues related to bilateral, political and economic cooperation, multilateral cooperation, trade relations, digital transformation and bilateral relation in fields related to science and technology.

The two countries agreed to expand areas of cooperation to include economic diplomacy with a focus on development cooperation, increasing trade investments in sectors such as life sciences, fintech and energy for mutually beneficial development.

Bilateral trade between South Africa and Lithuania has shown some growth since 2015, increasing from R1 billion in 2015 to R3 billion in 2021 despite the Covid19 pandemic.

The Deputy Minister also met with members of the Lithuanian business community to discuss investment opportunities in South Africa.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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