History of Relations| Diplomatic Representation | Travel Info | Health Requirements | Climate Info | Currency Info | Trade Info | Visits and Meetings | Agreements | Interest Groups/ Organisations

History of Relations

South Africa and Canada established bilateral relations in 1939. Canada, a vociferous critic of apartheid was strict in its application of sanctions against South Africa until September 1993. The role that Canada played in international efforts to pressure the then South African Government to dismantle Apartheid and the support from Canada for South Africa's transition to democracy strengthened the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the two countries.

Former President Nelson Mandela’s visit to Canada and his historic speech to the Canadian Parliament in 1990 further enhanced the excellent bilateral relations between South Africa and Canada. Canada was one of the first countries he visited following his release from prison in 1990. After being elected, President Mandela undertook a State Visit to Canada in September 1998 and was presented with Honorary Canadian Citizenship, one of only five.

Structured Bilateral Mechanisms

Structured bilateral cooperation between South Africa and Canada takes place within the framework of a Declaration of Intent on Strengthened Cooperation, which was signed in 2003 and which laid the foundation for the Annual Consultations (AC). Under the AC the two countries meet annually (alternating between South Africa and Canada), and are convened at a Senior Officials’ Level.

The AC is co-chaired at the level of the Director-General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). The 13th Annual Consultations was hosted by South Africa on 25 March 2021. The meeting discussed the strengthening of cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, mining and minerals, environment, education, science and technology and the cultural industries. The parties also exchanged information and perspectives on conflict situations in Africa and opportunities for regional and multilateral cooperation in the context of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the UN Security Council and the G20, in areas such as the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda, global economic recovery and climate action.

High level meetings between President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Trudeau take place often in the margins of multilateral fora such as the G7, as well as between the respective Foreign Ministers.

Trade and Investment

South Africa is a major entry point for Canada to access the African market. There are approximately 100 Canadian companies invested in South Africa, and Canadian investments in South Africa are largely concentrated in the mining sector, with more than 50% of total investment in this sector. The remaining 50% is fairly diversified across a number of sectors, including transport, food processing, hospitality, information and communication technologies, and instrumentation sectors. There are 22 South African companies investing in Canada under the following sectors: mining, engineering, telecommunications, computer software, food chain, metal, travel and cultural cooperation.

In 2015, Canada established the Export Development Canada (EDC) office in Johannesburg to explore investment opportunities in SA and on the Continent – the first and only office in Africa.

International Assistance

Canada’s development cooperation with South Africa and other African countries is based on its Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), which was adopted in 2017. The bilateral assistance programmes are aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP) and include support for South Africa’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, green economy, women and girls’ empowerment and the NDP Chapter 13 goal to build a Capable and Developmental State. South Africa receives Canadian development assistance through a variety of channels, including direct Government-to-Government assistance, as well as support to Canadian and South African civil society organisations and multilateral institutions.

Diplomatic Representation

South African Representation in Canada

H E Ms S Y Dlamini-Mntambo
High Commissioner

South African High Commission

Canada Representation in South Africa

Mr C J Cooler
High Commissioner-designate

Canadian High Commission

Travel Info

Visa requirements for South Africa

For more information contact the Canadian High Commission in Pretoria or visit the website of the Canadian Government.

Health Requirements

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from an infected area.

For further information go to Travellers' Health.

Climate Info

Ottawa is hot and humid in summer and extremely cold in winter with heavy snow falls at times.

For up-to-date weather information click here.

Currency Info

The monetary unit is the Canadian Dollar, expressed as CAD or CAN$. The currency is freely convertible.

For current exchange rates click here.

State and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings

Meetings take place on the margins of International Summits.

Bilateral Agreements

If you have any queries with regard to treaties please contact the Treaty Section of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) at 012 351 1000.

Trade Info

For current information on trade statistics between South Africa and Canada, visit the website of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa.

Interest Groups and Information

No information

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa