International Cooperation, Trade & Security Cluster Media Statement

Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Directors-General and Senior Managers
Ladies and gentlemen of the media

Welcome to the International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS) cluster media briefing following the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday, 12 February 2015. The ICTS cluster is responsible for the implementation of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) (2014 – 2019) commitments, as articulated in Outcome 11 whose vision is to “Create a better South Africa, contribute to a better and safer Africa in a better world”. Government achieves its goals through the cluster system that ensure integration of inter-related functions to accelerate service delivery and improved coordination.  

This media briefing aims at amplifying pronouncements made by President Zuma. He made the following observations:  

  • That South Arica remains committed to contribute towards building a better Africa. This is demonstrated by the continued support to peace and security and regional economic integration in the continent. This has resulted, amongst others, to a number of key outcomes such as the operationalization of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), of which South Africa is a contributing and founding member.

  • That the South African National Defence Force and SA Police Service continued to participate diligently in the conflict prevention and peacekeeping in the continent.

  • South Africa also continued to support conflict resolution initiatives in Lesotho, Sri Lanka and South Sudan, led by the Deputy President.

  • Economic cooperation with our BRICS partners was strengthened when the first two intergovernmental agreements were concluded on the occasion of the sixth BRICS Summit.  

  • These were the Agreements on the New Development Bank and the Treaty Establishing a Contingent Reserve Arrangement.

  • Countries of the developed North remain important strategic partners for South Africa through which the country is able to advance its national and foreign policy.

  • We have a valuable partnership with the European Union in amongst others, the infrastructure Investment Programme for South Africa valued at approximately R1.5 billion.

  • The renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act beyond September 2015 and a pledge to support African-led peace initiatives in the continent are among the significant outcomes of the United States-Africa leadership Summit held in the US last year.

  • At a multilateral level, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations which brings into sharp focus the need to transform the UN Security Council and other international institutions.

These observations by President Zuma highlight the level of South Africa’s committed towards playing its part in creating a better South Africa by contributing to a better and safer Africa in a better world.

Towards the adoption of Agenda 2063

President Jacob Zuma led the South African delegation at the January 2015 African Union (AU) Summit that was held in Ethiopia. The Summit took further the discussions on Agenda 2063 which is premised on six aspirational pillars, which are:

  • A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development;

  • An Integrated Continent, politically united, based on the ideals of Pan Africanism;

  • An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for Human Rights, Justice and the Rule of Law;

  • A peaceful and secure Africa;

  • An Africa with strong cultural values and ethics;

  • An Africa where development is people-driven, relying particularly on the potential of women and youth; and

The meeting was preceded by the June 2014 Summit of the AU which requested Member States to consult domestically to ascertain the views of all our people, across all sectors, on Agenda 2063.

In South Africa, the consultations with government departments as well as representatives of the Youth; Academics and Think-Tanks; Women; Civil Society; the Business sector and Parliament were convened. The stakeholders welcomed the African Union’s decision to develop Agenda 2063. Furthermore, the consultations confirmed the urgency with which the stakeholders want the African Union and its Member States to strengthen the implementation of policies aimed at improving the lives of ordinary Africans. Stakeholders emphasised that Africa should have the essential resources to attain the seven aspirations of Agenda 2063.

This Agenda 2063 should be informed by the integration agenda pursued in Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and should build on progress achieved in the RECs. AU Member States and the Regional Economic Communities are required to include the elements of Agenda 2063 Plan in their national and regional programmes. 

Taking the South Africa story to the World

President Zuma attended the World Economic Forum in Davos beginning of this year, with a delegation comprised of Ministers and business leaders. This is an important Forum to promote and profile the South Africa’s attractiveness as an investment destination of choice. South Africa remains a competitive business and investment destination despite challenges in the global economy. Our message was well received by investors.

Strengthening relations with China

President Zuma led a successful State visit to the People’s Republic of China from 4 – 5 December 2014. The President also officially represented South Africa at the closing ceremony for the “Year of South Africa” 2014 in China and hand over the Year of China in South Africa 2015 to President Xi. The objective of the Year of South Africa in China 2014 is to profile South Africa’s economic, political and cultural achievements since the end of Apartheid.

The year will also seek to explore more business and developmental opportunities, and demonstrate South Africa’s innovations, and best practices in various areas such as science and technology, fashion, mining, arts, culture, tourism and greater people to people interaction.

Advancing South Africa’s National Priorities through Bilateral Engagements

A total number of 52 economic diplomacy and image building activities to promote national priorities have been undertaken. As an example, a MoU on economic and industrial cooperation was signed with Botswana which will provide a basis for advancing mutually beneficial economic cooperation and industrial development between the two countries. South Africa and Botswana will identify projects with the potential for the development of cross-border value-chains in key sectors including, transport, mining, agro-business, tourism, agriculture, leather and processing of natural resources among others.

Elections in the region

The year 2014 has been characterised by the consolidation of democracy in the SADC region. Since South Africa assumed the role as the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in August 2014, South Africa led SADC Election Observation Mission (SEOM) in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Mauritius, and Zambia. These Election Observer Missions found that the elections were peaceful, free and fair, transparent, and credible, thus reflecting the will of the people.

Lesotho is expected to hold elections on 28 February, 2015. Our presence and representation at elections in the region is a testament to our collective support for democratic norms and practises.

An Economically Integrated Southern Africa  

South Africa participated at the recently held meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) ICT Ministers in Malawi. The meeting considered new proposals to lower the Cost to Communicate in the region, focusing on roaming prices.  The meeting adopted the Roam Like At Home programme, which will see the implementation of wholesale and retail glide paths effective from this year. The progressive glide path to cost-based roaming tariffs will be applied through fee reductions by a factor of 67%, 33% and 5% over the next three years. With these implemented reductions, consumers and citizens in the regions will connect to one another cheaper and this will also contribute to more affordable broadband access.

South Africa continues to broaden market integration through the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) negotiations among 26 countries of East and Southern Africa. The TFTA is expected to create a market of 625 million people, and a GDP of $1.2 trillion. We expect to take these negotiations further in a Summit of Heads of State scheduled for May 2015.

The country also received 3 892 172 foreign visitors arrivals, generating R20,3 billion revenue contribution to the economy. The tourism industry is a major contributor to South African economic growth, jobs and employment our citizens. This shows that on-going efforts to showcase our country as a tourist, investment and destination of choice are bearing much needed fruits during this low global economic outlook. 

Tourism continues to contribute significantly to South Africa’s national economy. The industry’s contribution to GDP has expanded by 200% since 1990.Tourism directly represents 3% of our GDP and supports over 617 000 jobs. Including indirect impacts, tourism generated 9.7% of the GDP and supported over 1.4 million jobs last year.

There is great potential for further growth, as we move towards the goal of becoming one of the top 20 global tourist destinations by 2020.

Our marketing investment strikes a balance between growth in domestic, regional African and long-haul tourism; between traditional markets and emerging source markets; and between leisure, business and events tourism. In September, South African Tourism opened a country office in Sao Paolo, Brazil, to serve the growing markets of Latin America.

Domestic marketing campaigns are being stepped up to get more South Africans to visit their own country. Over the past five months, much work has gone into planning to improve infrastructure that will enhance our destination offerings to tourists, with quality assurance embedded. This includes more detailed planning for a new Tourism Incentive Programme which will be launched next year, as well as more focussed leveraging of our Expanded Public Works Programme investment in physical infrastructure and skills development.

South African contribution towards conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peace and security and post conflict reconstruction.

South African government will continue to contribute to peace keeping on the continent through various peace keeping missions. Our involvement in peacekeeping missions is premised on our appreciation that Africa’s economic development depends on the substance of peace and stability. The SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) contribution to peace improves the lives of fellow Africans and the continent in general, guided by the objective of contributing to peace and stability on the Continent.

The SANDF continued to participate in the United Nations Peace Support Operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the United Nations/African Union Hybrid mission in Sudan.

The SANDF also continues to provide Military Training Assistance to other Armed Forces in the continent. This Military Training Assistance is being provided to the DRC in which combat and combat support capabilities have been established. Elements of these forces have proven their combat skills along with other SADC forces during offensive operations of the Force Intervention Brigade against the M23 rebels. The SANDF has also provided Military Assistance to Angola and Namibia for Naval Control and Guidance of Shipping.
 
Recently the SANDF became part of the newly established African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis which is an Interim Mechanism to assist in peace and security in the continent until such time that the African Standby Force is ready.

Maritime Security continues to be another key operation for the SANDF in the east coast of the continent. The SANDF successfully deployed two ships, SAS MAKHANDA and SAS ISAAC DYOBHA in the Mozambican channel during the operation since 2011. This operation has served as a deterrent in the Mozambique Channel.

Disaster Management in Africa

SANDF continues to provide relief domestically and internationally. This year, the SANDF was involved in the operation to assist the people of Mozambique in disaster relief efforts after floods had threatened the survival and lives of Mozambicans.

The South African National Defence Force successfully repatriated the last remaining mortal remains of the South African who perished in tragic accident the Lagos, Nigeria church. This was the largest evacuation of South Africa’s citizens carried out by the South African National Defence Force.

A Sustainable Developed and Economically Integrated Africa

The first draft of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) implementation and Coordination Strategy for South Africa is drawn up by the Sub-Committee of Directors General on NEPAD.

The Partnership funding/commitments linked-aligned/matched to Presidential Infrastructure Championship Initiative: The draft Global Review has been released to AU Member States for consultations on the document.

A SA position paper was developed for the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) highlighting key elements reflected in the draft considered by the SADC Summit. This is aimed at advancing a developmental co-operation and integration so as to achieve industrial development, infrastructure development and market integration within SADC.

SADC is developing an industrial work programme to promote the development of regional value chains and complementarities between Member States.

An Equitable and Just System of Global Governance

We made our contribution towards an equitable and just system by participating at the following meetings:

a) The United Nations’ Economic and Social Council High-level Segment, Annual Ministerial Review and Ministerial High-level Political Forum took place from 7 to 11 July 2014, in New York.

b) The Trade and Development Board (TDB) 61st Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), held in Geneva from 15 to 26 September 2014.

c) The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Finance (ICESDF), which met from 4 to 8 August 2014.

d) Participated and advanced SA’s positions during the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council held in Geneva, 8 to 26 September 2014.

Strong, Mutually Beneficial South-South cooperation

We remain committed to strengthening South-South cooperation. Our contribution was also recognised in the second half of 2014. For an example;

a) South Africa was endorsed at the Chairperson of The Group of 77 (G77) for 2015 at a Ministerial meeting that was held in New York on 19 September 2014,

b) We attended the Sixth BRICS Summit held in Fortaleza and Brasilia from 15 to16 July 2014.

c) We participated at the 23rd India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Focal Point meeting held in New York on 24 September 2014.

National Obligations fulfilled towards the establishment of the BRICS bank

The key outcome of the VI BRICS Summit was the signing of the first BRICS inter-governmental agreements, such as the Agreement on the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Treaty on the establishment of a BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). A decision was reached that headquarters of the NDB would be in Shanghai and that its Africa Regional Centre should be established concurrently with headquarters in South Africa.

In addition, two Memoranda of Understanding were concluded, i.e. on Cooperation among BRICS Export Credit Insurance Agencies and on Innovation among the BRICS Inter-Bank Cooperation Mechanism Parties. Subsequently a BRICS Sherpas’ meeting took place on 21 August 2014 to discuss the operationalisation of the BRICS New Development Bank and the Africa Regional Centre as directed by BRICS Leaders at the VI BRICS Summit.

South Africa continues to pursue value-added trade under the BRICS Forum to increase exports of value-added products. An example of this is the Midterm Meeting of the BRICS Business Council that took place from 9-10 February 2015 in Brasilia, Brazil. The BRICS Business Council was officially established during the 5th BRICS Summit held in Durban, in March 2013. The Council aims to create a platform that will strengthen and promote economic, trade, business and investment ties among the business communities of the BRICS countries.

The Midterm Meeting serves as an opportunity to monitor developments towards adopting a Second Annual Report, covering the 2014-2015 period, at the Seventh BRICS Summit which will take place in Ufa, Russia in July 2015. During the Midterm Meeting, the Working Groups on Energy and Green Economy; Manufacturing; Skills Development; Financial Services and Infrastructure reported their advancements and proposals to the BRICS Business Council.

The Business Council made advancements on proposals related to a favourable business environment, trade in local currencies, business travel, trade facilitation, logistics and connectivity, technical standards, investment ties and the New Development Bank. At the meeting new working groups on Agri-business as well as Deregulation and Investment Support were also adopted.

The Midterm Meeting was followed by three roundtable sessions with representatives of the Brazilian government on issues raised by the BRICS Business Council.

Beneficial Relations with Strategic Formations of the North

As at September 2014, grants amounting to R304 million were received through the Reconstruction and Development Programme fund account from the Development Partners.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) aligned to IPAP beneficial to SA’s interests from developed countries is increasing, Total investment as at end of September 2014 was R26.8 billion.

South Africa continues to enhance economic relations with countries of the North. Engagements are continuing with the US to advocate for the extension of AGOA with the inclusion of South Africa and for a sufficient period to allow for meaningful investment in view of the mutually beneficial nature of AGOA which not only benefits South Africa but also American companies based in South Africa.

Conclusion

South Africa’s foreign policy remains entrenched within the policy of Ubuntu, strengthening bilateral growth with international partners for investment and meeting its own developmental goals.

South Africa will be hosting the African Union Summit in June as well as the Forum for Africa-China Cooperation (FOCAC) in November.

Today, we can confidently say that the Cluster has achieved notable progress in meeting its outcome

Thank you

ENQUIRIES:

Ms Nikelwa Tengimfene
Chief Director: lCTS Cluster Supervisor
082 574 5495

 

 

 

 

 

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