Statement by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the honourable
Ms Sue van der Merwe, on the Launch of South Africa's participation in the World
Expo, 2005, in Aichi, Japan.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Mandisi Mpahlwa,
from the Embassy of Japan in South Africa,
Ambassador Ben Ngubane
and private sector officials
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
the media present here today
Ladies and Gentlemen:
On behalf of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, I would like to say thatwe are proud to be part of this project.
Africa¡¦s participation in the World EXPO 2005 serves to showcase
our country not only through promoting our country as trading nation but also
to convey to the wider world what we as a nation, as a country and as part of
the African continent have done and are doing in improving the lives of our people.
Clearly, our contribution in the international arena is not simply to promote
our interests, but also to act as a catalyst for economic activity in our region
and on the continent and to promote South South co-operation. The EXPO gives us
the space to carry out this work, to share our progress with others and to focus
on sustainable solutions to the world¡¦s problems. Our National Pavilion
will have to bring our take on how humanity should work in tandem with nature
for a more enduring reality.
Moreover, the current processes of globalisation
have effectively widened the gap between North and South and brought many challenges
especially for the developing world. Given also our long history of struggle and
of international solidarity, we have taken it upon ourselves as South Africa to
be an agent of progressive change and to work towards expanding the existing global
political space to pursue the objective of a better life for all in a better world.
believe that this World EXPO gives the countries of the world not only an opportunity
to demonstrate their unique identities, but also to find common ground on the
shared space that is this EXPO, to engage in cultural and social exchange in a
global marketplace of ideas, but also, and most importantly, to build an international
space in which to encourage dialogue. In this way, I believe that such an EXPO
is another small step in which the people of the world can begin to understand
each other, to strengthen multilateralism and also to extend the space for multilateralism
in the world community.
Part of the discussion at an EXPO such as this is
also to use the forums at such a huge gathering with a sustained audience to put
forward the agenda of the "X Eradication of poverty and underdevelopment
"X The promoting of peace and security "X Restructuring the global exercise
As South Africa, we wish to use this opportunity to strengthen
our bilateral relations especially for economic co-operation and to convey a message
of hope to the world that through strengthening trade links and building friendships
we can create a better climate for world peace and prosperity and for sustained
This World EXPO co-incides with a number of other important
events that will happen this year that also contributes to bringing peace and
friendship to the world.
In the year 2005, we also look forward to a number
of international conferences and summits which South Africa is participating in,
including Beijing +10, Copenhagen+10, the review of progress on the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) arising out of the Millennium Summit 5 years ago, as
well as a Special Summit examining UN reform and the continuation of the Doha
development round of the WTO. All of these events together with the EXPO bring
countries of the world together to assess progress made and to pursue the development
South Africa will also be hosting the Progressive Governance Summit
- this important forum provides an opportunity for like-minded countries to share
and exchange views of mutual concern.
There is also a forthcoming IBSA Trilateral
Commission in March 2005, which will be used to strengthen trilateral co-operation
among the three countries.
The EXPO also enables us especially to foster
our relations with Japan and its neigbouring countries and to show visitors what
South Africa and Africa are doing to help to improve the world.
of furthering unity and co-operation between Asia and Africa, we are also preparing
for our participation in the forthcoming Bandung Summit.
We also see the
forthcoming South (G77) Summit to be held in Qatar as an opportunity to assess
the state of South-south co-operation as well as the ways in which such co-operation
may improve progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals in developing
Eleven years into our democracy, we now stand at the dawn of
great global changes and immense possibilities for development in South Africa.
Participation in the World EXPO can contribute to bringing foreign direct investment
into our economy and enhance the possibilities for growth as well as boost our
international tourism by marketing our country as a tourist destination. South
Africa is increasingly focusing on both political and economic diplomacy to strengthen
Over the last decade, we have put a lot of effort into the development
of policies and international agreements and protocols, necessary for the struggle
against poverty underdevelopment, and the fight against racism, sexism and injustice.
As we make our way to Japan, we will be sharing our experiences to promote a more
sustainable and harmonious coexistence for all life on Earth, towards people,
planet and prosperity, as outlined in the Johannesburg Declaration coming out
of the World Summit for Sustained Development.
In this year, which, of course,
is also the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Charter, we commit ourselves to use
the EXPO as a space for plotting the possibilities of the future and to be ourselves
as well as continuing to bring peace and friendship amongst all our people and
to the people of the world.
We congratulate our Ambassador in Japan, Dr
Ben Ngubane for all the hard work together with team at the South African Embassy
in Japan and all government departments participating in the project for the work
they have done this in preparation of the World EXPO in Japan.
I thank you.
by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853.
Department of Foreign Affairs
22 February 2005