The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane led a delegation of Ministers for the 11th session of the SA – UK Bilateral Forum that took place this past week in London on 19 October 2015.
The Bilateral Forum sought to enhance and strengthen political, global and economic relations between South Africa and the United Kingdom in various spheres.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane was joined by the Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor, Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, Minister of Small Business, Ms Lindiwe Zulu and Deputy Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Buti Manamela
During the Forum the following Working Groups met to discuss progress on the implementation of the South Africa-UK Strategy which was signed in 2013.
The Working Groups comprised of Foreign Policy; Economic; Science and Innovation; Agriculture, Water & Environment; Social and Technical; Education; Defence; and Migration and Security.
The UK is the largest source of Foreign Direct Investments into South Africa, worth R772 billion. There are approximately 115 British companies active in South Africa and they have created close to 20 000 jobs in the period January 2008 to April 2014. The UK also remains the largest destination for South African exports in Europe, worth R37.6 billion. Imports from the UK into South Africa are stood at R35.5 billion in 2014. Total trade increased by 13.7% from 2013 to 2014.
The UK and South Africa signed agreements to work together for peace in other African nations, increase finance links and further co-operate in the science and technology sector.
The ministers did acknowledge that the target to double bilateral trade from 2009 to 2015 has been missed, promising to increase efforts to expand trade and investment.