Media Briefing Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the occasion of the Official Visit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of the Republic of Singapore, Tuynhuys, Cape Town, 16 May 2023
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Prime Minister Lee and I have just concluded productive discussions during his first Official Visit to South Africa.
This is a significant year, as we are celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Singapore.
It was a pleasure to discuss areas of mutual interest and explore ways to strengthen our bilateral relations, cooperation and partnership.
We believe that there is significant potential to further develop our economic partnership.
This is evident in the business delegation that accompanied Prime Minister Lee, comprising representatives of a number of sectors, including ports, logistics, healthcare and biomedical, food manufacturing and engineering.
Prime Minister Lee and I will have an opportunity later today to participate in a business roundtable with some of these business people.
Our two countries share a common interest in promoting economic growth, social development and prosperity for our citizens. It is in this spirit that we have worked together to strengthen our ties.
This visit provided South Africa and Singapore an opportunity to discuss areas of cooperation that are firmly focused on the future.
This includes cooperation in the fields of digitalisation, communications and technology, water and sanitation, and skills development, among others.
We have also agreed to deepen our cooperation on science and innovation.
This was also an opportunity to express our appreciation to the Government of Singapore for their support over the years in training South African civil servants.
We discussed South Africa’s application to become a Sectoral Dialogue Partner with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.
The global role of the ASEAN region has been growing over the last five decades creating the sixth largest market in the world.
Further deepening the cooperation between South Africa and ASEAN would open up opportunities in various fields, such trade, infrastructure development, technology transfer, education, science, innovation and tourism.
While we discussed several areas of bilateral cooperation, this visit has also provided an opportunity to discuss regional and international issues of common interest and concern.
These include developments on the African continent, in particular the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the potential it offers for both domestic and international investors.
We discussed the current instability in international relations and the global economy. We agreed on the need for all countries to work together to develop inclusive, just and sustainable solutions to conflict, climate change, pandemics and other challenges.
I had an opportunity to brief Prime Minister Lee on South Africa’s position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Over the weekend I presented an African leaders peace mission to President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during separate telephone calls.
Principal to our discussions are efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the devastating conflict in the Ukraine, its cost in human lives and impact on the African continent.
In this regard, I presented the initiative on behalf of African Heads of State, from Zambia, Senegal, Congo, Uganda, Egypt and South Africa.
The two leaders agreed to receive the mission and the African Heads of State, in both Moscow and Kyiv.
I agreed with both President Putin and President Zelenskyy to commence with preparations for engagements with the African Heads of State. The Secretary General of the United Nations was briefed and welcomed the initiative.
Prime Minister Lee,
I am grateful that we had an opportunity to discuss these and other issues of importance to our countries and to the broader global community.
I would like to thank Prime Minister Lee for very productive deliberations and for his commitment to building stronger ties between our countries.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency