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Message from His Excellency Ambassador MK Lekgoro

 
Welcome to the website of the South African Embassy to Viet Nam, a country of great beauty with extraordinary people and a very promising future.

Viet Nam is experiencing rapid demographic and social change. Its population reached 97,3 million in 2020 (up from about 60 million in 1986) and is expected to expand to 120 million before evening out around 2050 with an emerging middle class doubling from its current 13% of the population to reach 26% by 2026.

The influence of Viet Nam in the international arena and South East Asia has increased. This year Viet Nam is the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a regional block that commands a GDP of USD 9.34 trillion. Viet Nam is also a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2020-2021.

It is a middle-income country with a GDP worth USD262 billion and the economy is based on large state-owned industries in areas such as textiles, food, furniture, plastics and paper as well as tourism and telecommunications. In 2019, Vietnam's service sector contributed the largest percentage to the country's GDP at 41.64 percent. Approximately 35 percent of the Vietnamese population work in the service sector. In the same year Vietnam's manufacturing sector accounted for 16.48 percent of the country's total GDP and Vietnam's agriculture, forestry and fishing sector for 13.96 percent. Main crops include rice, coffee, cashew nuts, corn, pepper, sweet potatoes, peanuts, cotton, rubber and tea as well as aquaculture. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has, like in all countries of the world, curtailed trade and tourism the key drivers of Viet Nam’s economy. While economic growth was at 7.1% in 2019, it is expected to slow to 2.0-2.5% this year, which is still praiseworthy taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic growth worldwide.

The last two years have seen significant growth in trade between our two countries; from ZAR 14 billion total trade in 2018 to ZAR 18 billion in 2019. By June 2020 trade was already at ZAR 12 billion - an indication that it may exceed ZAR 20 billion by end of 2020. Overall South Africa’s trade deficit has diminished drastically as exports to Viet Nam increased.

South Africa’s top exports to Viet Nam include mineral products, vegetable products, base metals, chemicals, plastics, rubber as well as raw skins and hides, leather and articles thereof. The top products exported from Vietnam to South Africa include machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, textiles, vegetable products, mineral products as well as footwear, head gear and umbrellas.

Without minimising the importance of trade in other products, the attention of South African business should be drawn to the need in Viet Nam for coal and pork. Demand in 2020 and for the foreseeable future will remain higher than the supply in these two products. South Africa’s export of coal to Viet Nam surpassed other exports in the first half of 2020. The opportunities for South African businesses in the export products mentioned above may be worth exploring as there is extensive potential for trade cooperation between the two countries.

The Embassy in Hanoi and the Honorary Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City stand ready to offer any assistance that South African nationals and companies might need to enter the Viet Nam market.
 
 
 

A PLEA TO SOUTH AFRICANS TO HEED THIS CALL

 

Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngọc Dung has called for tightened control over foreigners working in Viet Nam.

 

In a recent dispatch to Chairpersons of municipal and provincial People’s Committees, he said provincial and municipal authorities should consider deporting foreign workers without work permits or those failing to comply with entry and exit rules applicable to foreigners in Viet Nam.

 

The South African Embassy is aware that there may be South African citizens who will be negatively affected by this step from the Vietnamese authorities.

You are kindly requested to make sure that you are not found to be in conflict with the Viet Nam law in terms of visas and work permits.

The Embassy is in no position to protect South African nationals who are in conflict with laws of Viet Nam. In such cases the legal processes of Viet Nam take their course.

 

The South African Embassy does not offer any financial assistance regarding repatriations back to South Africa or any other matter relating to your stay in Vietnam.

 
HE Mpetjane Kgaogelo Lekgoro
Head of Mission
 
 
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