Remarks by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, H.E. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on the occasion of the joint press briefing following the conclusion of bilateral meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Guido Westerwelle, Pretoria, 29 April 2013
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
Today I had the pleasure of hosting my colleague Dr Guido Westerwelle, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Of course this is not the first time we have met. Last year, I visited Germany and had the privilege of meeting with the Minister to review our cooperation. We have also met on several occasions in the margins of multilateral meetings and have continued to exchange views on issues of mutual concern.
This morning, we had extensive discussions on both bilateral and multilateral issues. We have reviewed our bilateral relations. We have reaffirmed our strategic partnership. Our cooperation is deep and covers many areas. Germany is one of the leading trading and investment partners for South Africa. It is our 3rd largest trading partner, the 2nd largest investor and the 3rd largest tourism market.
Germany extensively supports our national development priorities and has allocated an amount of approximately R 3, 4 billion to South Africa for the period 2012-2013. This includes R 426 million for Development Assistance and R 3 billion as concessionary loans to development finance institutions and state owned enterprises.
Our development cooperation programme covers areas such as climate change and the environment, renewable energy, vocational education and training, science and technology, and capacity building.
We have particularly taken note of the excellent cooperation between our two countries in the field of science and technology. Last year the South Africa-Germany Year of Science partnership was launched in South Africa. My colleague, Mr Derek Hanekom, Minister of Science and Technology, has recently returned from Germany to join his German counterpart in an event officially marking the closure of this project.
Through this collaboration, more than 40 joint research projects were undertaken by scientists from both our countries, focusing on such areas as renewable energy, health, pharmaceuticals and ICT amongst others. We are looking forward to the final research outputs and hopefully to the commercialisation of these ventures.
We have also exchanged views and perspectives on developments on the continent, especially the situation in the eastern DRC, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe. We have applauded ongoing efforts by regional organisations, the African Union and the United Nations in promoting and making peace on the continent.
In addition, we have reviewed developments in the Middle East and expressed concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and civilian casualties.
We have renewed our common position for the reform of the United Nations in order to enable it to better respond to global challenges.
May I take this opportunity to invite my colleague, Dr Westerwelle to address you.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION