Italy (Republic of)

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 Italy maintain excellent relations covering the full range of activities, both on a governmental level as well as in the private sector.

In 2003, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of South Africa and Italy, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Bilateral Consultations establishing a framework for regular bilateral consultations at Ministerial or Deputy Ministerial level and regular meetings at Senior Officials level.

The focus remains on sustaining political dialogue and increasing economic cooperation between South Africa and Italy, focusing on the priorities of the National Development Plan (NDP).  Both countries have signed a number of agreements in various areas of cooperation in fields such as science and technology, defence, police and water amongst others and are in the process of exploring further areas of cooperation in sectors such as environment.

Italy views South Africa as a strategic partner and a leader on the African continent. It is the eighth largest economy in the world and a member of the G20 and the G7. South Africa’s economic relations with Italy are strong and there is a growing interest in South Africa as an investment destination.

President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa met with the Prime Minister of Italy, Mr Giuseppe Conte on the margins of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan in June 2019, and also on the margins of the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France on 26 August 2019. The principals deliberated on issues of common interest including peace and security in Africa, defence cooperation and the expansion of economic relations between the two countries.

Italy and South Africa have engaged in a strategic partnership as equals based on shared values and converging interests, which include supporting peace, security and development in Africa, strengthening and reforming the multilateral system and promoting a more inclusive, efficient and equitable system of global governance.

Diplomatic Representation

South African Representation in Italy

H E Ms N N-J Ngcaba
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

South African Embassy

Italian Representation in South Africa

H E Dr P Cuculi
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Italian Embassy

Travel Info

Visa Requirements for South Africans

For more information contact the Consular Section of the Italian Embassy in Pretoria.

Health Requirements

May apply from time to time and the local Italian Embassy must be contacted in this regard.

For further information go to Travelers' Health.


Summer (May-September) is the hottest in the south. Spring and autumn are mild and sunny. Winter in the south is drier and warmer than in the north. Mountain regions are colder with heavy snowfalls in winter.

What to wear: Cool clothing in summer (except in mountains). Warmer clothes in south in winter but very warm clothes elsewhere. Alpine wear for mountain resorts.

For up-to-date weather information click here.


Pickpocketing and baggage theft can occur especially at railway stations and airports.


The monetary unit is the Euro.

For current exchange rates click here.

State and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings

No Information

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 Statistics

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

Trade Info

Economic Relations with South Africa


Italy was instrumental in having the EU economic sanctions lifted following the normalisation of political activity in South Africa and was the first member of the Union to sign an economic agreement with South Africa.

Italy is one of South Africa’s leading trading partners. This has been the case for the past five years and in 2001 Italy was the 6th largest trading partner of South Africa. South Africa's main exports to Italy are gold and coal, and also include laminated iron and steel, machines, non-electrical appliances, hides and skins, fruit, granite and wool, while South African imports from Italy consist mainly of machine tools, office and other electronic equipment, industrial machinery and telecommunications equipment.

Italy is the world's largest producer of gold jewellery and a large consumer of coal, which are both available in vast quantities in South Africa. Gold and coal are South Africa's major export commodities to Italy. There is also scope for increased exports of platinum, titanium and ferro alloys.

In recent years, the number of bilateral visits by business and government delegations has increased significantly and it is expected that these visits will further strengthen the strong foundation upon which economic relations are based. During the past twelve months, President Mbeki and Prime Minister Berlusconi have visited the respective countries, while the Italian Deputy Minister of Productive Affairs led a business delegation to South Africa in November 2002, as a follow-up to the business delegation led by President Ciampi, during his State Visit to South Africa, in March 2002.


Prior to 1995, investment flows from Italy to South Africa were negligible as compared with other major industrialised countries. The situation, however, changed significantly in 1997 and 1998 when Italian companies invested R 127 million and R 668 million respectively (a 426% increase over 1997). In 2000 investments from Italy to South Africa amounted to R 119 million and in 2001 amounted to Euro 11.8 million (R 90.7 million), ranking Italy amongst the 10th largest investment partners for SA. (Rate of exchange in 2001: 1 Euro = Rand 7.687).

These figures are supplied by the Italian Exchange Office (Ufficio Italiano dei Cambi). It must be borne in mind that 2001 was the start of the global economic downturn, including as far as foreign direct investments were concerned, registering a 51% collapse (the worst result in the last thirty years).


In terms of household expenditure by Italians, leisure (tourism) ranks 3rd after food and housing. Italian tourists are described as attractive clientele with the following characteristics: enjoy long stay travel (10-15 days), educated, middle to upper class and seek high quality services. These characteristics normally translate into higher per capita expenditure.

A total of 37 521 Italians travelled to South Africa in 2001. Current statistics of SA Tourism indicate that there is a marked increase in the number of Italian tourists choosing South Africa as a destination during 2002 (+ 7% in the first six months). South Africa is at the moment perceived as a "value for money " destination and is becoming a "fashionable" destination.

Two of the main reasons for this are:

         the exchange rate and

         After September 11, many tourists have preferred South Africa as a tourist destination.

Furthermore, South African Airways has recommenced direct flights to Italy (Milan) with effect from 1 July 2002. Four direct flights are currently operating and the popularity thereof would indicate that there is a strong demand for travel, both business and leisure, to South Africa. In fact the lack of capacity or limitation thereof may be an impediment to stronger growth in tourism.

Tourism from Italy may still be undervalued by South African tour operators and this area could in the next few years potentially play an increasingly significant role in relations with Italy. Investment by Italian companies in the tourism infrastructure of South Africa may also bear fruit in the future.

Development Co-operation

Italy has committed US$ 20 million (approximately R190 million) for development assistance to South Africa for the years 2002-2002, with two health projects in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. A framework agreement for these projects was signed during the State Visit by president Ciampi to South Africa.

The Italian Government had also donated R15.5 million for higher education in South Africa during June 2001.  Italian ODA to South Africa is mainly channelled as multilateral ODA under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) auspices.

Italian funding for development assistance to South Africa was increased for 2002 and South Africa is one of a few African countries that receive Italian ODA. Italy has earmarked an indicative amount of Euro 32 million for the period 2002-2004 iro their Multi-Indicative

Programme (MIP). The main sectors that will benefit are:

         local government



         social sectors

         SMME development

Italian resources targeted the poorer regions in South Africa and are followed closely with South African developmental guidelines and priorities.

Interest Groups and Information

1. Italian South African Chamber of Commerce


Tel : (011) 728 89 13

Fax : (011) 728 8917

President : Dr Castellari

2. Italian Club Pretoria (Club Sociale Italiano)

Tel : (012) 335 2982

Fax : (012) 335 2580

Comites (Association of Italians Abroad)

Tel : (011) 880 9003

Pres Dr M Mariano

3. Italian Foreign Trade Commission

42 Chester Road

2193 Parkwood Johannesburg

PO Box 1261

2121 Parklands

South Africa

Director: Ms Bruna Santarelli

Tel : (011) 8808383

Fax : (011) 8809040 / 8809041




Ms Lidia Martinuzzi


Via Mascheroni, 19 (5th floor)

20145 Milan



Stats SA


Ms Lidia Martinuzzi


Via Mascheroni, 19 (5th floor)

20145 Milan


Quick Links:

Disclaimer | Contact Us | HomeLast Updated: 5 November, 2021 7:57 AM
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