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SA & Norway Bilateral relations
 
Relations between Norway and South Africa are extremely good and quite advanced. Due to Norway’s unwavering support and strong solidarity during the struggle towards democracy, a special and unique relationship exists between the two countries.

The first anti-apartheid activities in Norway date back to 1959 with consumer boycott activities organized by the trade unions. The South Africa Committee also started to operate in 1959.

Awareness about apartheid received a big stimulus in 1961 when Chief Albert Luthuli received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

Successive Norwegian governments offered moral, practical and diplomatic support to the liberation movement, the trade unions and the churches in their resistance to apartheid.

The Norwegian government began to support the ANC directly in 1977, and
the ties between South Africa and Norway were further tightened during reconstruction and development efforts post-apartheid.

Norway acknowledges that through the ‘African agenda’, South Africa has positioned itself as a true exemplar in Africa and the rest of the developing world.

The manner, in which South Africa’s democracy was born, the trajectory of its economic development and governance, as well as its commitment to peaceful co-existence with neighbors, has given distinguished clout and status to the country.

As an international negotiator and promoter of peace, Norway stands behind South Africa’s foreign policy over the past decade in assuming the role of peacemaker and negotiator in Africa, and a champion of Africa’s interests abroad.

The building of civilian capacity in peacekeeping and peace-building efforts is one area in which the Norwegians feel they will have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. Norway is co-operating with South Africa in the Training for Peace Programme (TfP), which aims to achieve this purpose on the Continent. The governments of South Africa and Norway held their first annual bilateral Human Rights talks in April 2010, and will continue the work towards establishing common ground and areas of cooperation both bilaterally and internationally.

South Africa and Norway are two global power players on climate change. South African Oil Company, Sasol, has got owner’s interest in the carbon catch in Mongstad, Norway; The world’s largest facility of its kind to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Norway and South Africa signed a new agreement on behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding research cooperation between Norway and South Africa in the fields of climate, the environment and clean energy, in February 2013.

The new programme period is 2013-2017.

South Africa is an important export market in Africa. Innovation Norway, represented by an office in Johannesburg, runs a Match-Making Programme facilitating increased contact between Norwegian and South African companies. Focus on increased trade and investment between the countries will be important for the future relations between Norway and South Africa.

A number of Norwegian companies are planning to expand their operations in South Africa through increased investment and technology. Norwegian companies have shown interest in joint ventures, expansion of existing operations, buying into local companies, as well as the exploration of small, micro and medium enterprises (SMME). Through the matchmaking programme, the Norwegians are willing to assist South African SMMEs that have viable business plans in joint venture operations.

Fundamental to trade relations between both countries is the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for the import of goods from developing countries that were extended by Norway to South Africa on 6 May 1994.

Through this mechanism, goods imported by Norway from South Africa are not submitted to the normal customs duties. These tariff preferences provide an incentive to traders to import products from developing countries like South Africa and helping them to compete on international markets.

Currently South Africa’s bilateral trade relations with Norway are governed by the SACU-EFTA. In 2012, exports between the two countries amounted to R 1,915 million, with an annual growth of 13,4%. Norway is South Africa’s 41st export destination. In 2012, imports amounted to R 735 million, thus showing a trade surplus for South Africa.

The main areas of Norwegian trade and investment in South Africa are within information technology, energy and oil and gas related technologies. South African exports to Norway are mainly minerals and agricultural products. The Norwegian Government Pension Fund - Global, the second largest sovereign fund in the world, has an investment portfolio on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange valued at approximately R 12 bn (NOK 10, 1 bn).
 
Ambassador Queen Anne Zondo
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