The President of the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

Thank you very much for inviting me to interact with you today, on some of the important issues that concern us. I am keen to hear your views as well on how we, together, can deal with critical issues, facing our world at this juncture.

I feel at home amongst you all, given the warm and strong relations between South Africa and the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as German business, and also because of our optimism that these relations will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Germany is one of South Africa's foremost economic partners, as manifested by the growing trade and investment flows between the two countries.

We believe that bilateral mechanisms such as the South African-German Binational Commission has been instrumental in strengthening relations.

The last BNC met in Berlin in July, and work is now continuing in the various committees. The third meeting of the Economic Committee between the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the South African Department of Trade and Industry took place recently in Pretoria.

A key focus of the economic consultations was to find ways to promote and expand direct investment by German companies in South Africa, and in particular, to encourage the participation by small and medium sized companies on the South African market.

The German investments in our country are highly valued, given the fact that local German companies here employ about 65 000 South Africans.

Total trade between South Africa and the Federal Republic of Germany has been on the increase from year to year since 1992 up to 2000. Last year showed the largest ever total trade, at R41 billion.

We have also noted with pleasure, the considerable interest among groups and individuals to invest in hotels, restaurants, game farms, real estate and health resorts.

German companies have also acquired a stake in the South African Defence Procurement Programme, which is estimated to bring foreign direct investment to the tune of R900 million, and create approximately 10 000 jobs.

A positive development last week was the visit by representatives of nine companies from the New Federal State in Germany, who came to evaluate the South African market for potential investment into the country and the SADC region.

Earlier this year, a delegation from the Bavarian State also visited South Africa with similar intentions. It is encouraging to see more German companies having confidence in the South African market and showing a willingness to invest in the country.

Another welcome development is the fact that Germany has ratified the South Africa-European Union Trade, Development and Co-Operation Agreement, bringing to four the number of countries that have done so.

This agreement is an important vehicle for Southern Africa as it provides us with growing opportunities to expand our productive capacities and engage new markets in a focused and effective manner.

Ladies and gentlemen, these sound economic relations show that there is room for further co-operation and business linkages. We invite German business to continue exploring our country for opportunities, particularly in the SMME sector. This would also contribute to the transfer of knowledge and skills to this sector.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are no doubt aware of the recent launch of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), which provides more opportunities within the African continent.

This is an important initiative, since for the first time, African leaders are calling for a partnership with the developed world in the development of the continent, instead of only development aid.

The key priority areas of the plan are:

Peace, security and good governance;
Investing in Africa's people;
Diversification of Africa's production and exports;
Investing in information communication technology and other basic infrastructure;
Developing financing mechanisms,
Reducing poverty;
Attaining the international targets for health and education.
The leadership in the continent envisages the development of a new partnership with developed countries, based on the following principles:-

Ownership and leadership by African countries themselves.
Partnership with the North to reverse unequal relations that characterised past trade relations.
A comprehensive plan that addresses Africa's development needs.
We are optimistic that with our collective efforts, Nepad will succeed and that it will enable us to realise our sustainable development goals. As South Africans, we realise that we cannot be an island of hope in a sea of despair, and have therefore chosen to play an active role in contributing to the development of our region in Southern Africa and the whole continent.

We invite you as our partners, to familiarise yourselves with Nepad and look for opportunities that will arise in this ambitious development plan.

Nepad offers economic and development solutions that should stand the test of time, and it needs to be given a chance and support.

Ladies and gentlemen, once again, let me stress that it is a great privilege for me to be with you today. I would also like to reiterate our appreciation of the optimism and faith you have shown in our young democracy.

We hope to continue doing business with you, and trust that economic and other linkages will continue to flourish. Let us also intensify our efforts to make the world prosperous and safer in the current era and beyond.

Remember as well that the doors of the Presidency are open, should you wish to engage us on any matter of concern.

I thank you.

Quick Links

Disclaimer | Contact Us | HomeLast Updated: 2 September, 2004 12:35 PM
This site is best viewed using 800 x 600 resolution with Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher.
2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa