Media Statement

23 June 2022

Deputy Minister Botes arrives in Portugal for Bilateral Consultations

The Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, has today, 23 June 2022, arrived in Lisbon, Portugal, where he is scheduled to co-chair the Seventh Bilateral Consultations between South Africa and Portugal with his Portuguese counterpart, Mr Francisco André, on 24 June 2022.

South Africa and Portugal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2002 establishing High-Level Political Consultations. The bilateral mechanism is the key vehicle through which relations between the two countries are conducted.

From 2002 to 2017, the Bilateral Consultations were only conducted at the Senior Officials level. During the 5th Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in 2017, both countries agreed to elevate the SOM to Deputy Minister level.

The last Bilateral Consultations were co-chaired by Deputy Minister Botes in South Africa in August 2019. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and resultant travel restrictions in both countries, subsequent consultations did not take place in 2020 and 2021.

South Africa and Portugal maintain friendly and solid political relations, and the two countries have strong historical and cultural ties. There are approximately 500,000 South Africans of Portuguese descent and about 200,000 Portuguese nationals who reside in South Africa on a permanent basis.

The main areas of cooperation that will come under review at the Bilateral Consultations include Agriculture; Basic Education; Defence; Ocean Economy; Science and Technology; Tourism and Trade and Investment.

Bilateral trade figures for 2020 and 2021 have been positive, with South African exports for this period surpassing the total exports for 2019. South African exports in 2021 were valued at approximately R2, 8 billion while imports from Portugal recorded approximately R ‪4, 6 billion in the same year.

South Africa and Portugal have found convergence on major international issues such as human rights, conflict resolution, peacekeeping and the promotion of peace, security and development in Africa.

Part of the Deputy Minister’s programme in Portugal will include engagements with Portuguese business communities in Porto and Lisbon. This is aimed at showcasing South Africa as a favourable investment destination.

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

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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