Kazakhstan is emerging in global and regional influence
26 October 2016
Kazakhstan gained independence from the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) in 1991. 25 Years on and Kazakhstan is emerging in global and regional influence. Its stance on nuclear disarmament stems from its first hand experiences of the horrific nuclear arms testing that it had to endure.
Photo: (l-r) H.E. Ambassador Talgat Kaliyev of Kazakhstan to South Africa, Dr Philani Mthembu, Acting Executive of the IDG and Ms A Kuhn Director, South and Central Asia desk at International Relations of SA (DIRCO)
As a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of independence of Kazakhstan, the University of South Africa (UNISA) , the Institute for Global Dialogue and the Embassy of Kazakhstan in South Africa hosted a public lecture. H.E. Ambassador Talgat Kaliyev of Kazakhstan to South Africa (SA) presented, ‘Kazakhstan and South Africa, achieving common goals towards development and prosperity”.
Ambassador Kaliyev explained Kazakhstan’s willingness to engage candidly and follow a traditional diplomatic policy. It has adopted a market economy, building statehood and a stable nation in the aftermath of the fall of the Iron Curtain.
South Africa and Austria hold successful bilateral engagement
25 October 2016
Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has held a successful bilateral engagement with her Austrian counterpart Mr Sebastian Kurz, the Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.
“The meeting discussed the growing relations between the two countries and how to build on the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Establishment of a Bilateral Consultation Mechanism.
“The MoU allows for regular bilateral consultations at senior officials’ level to review all aspects of bilateral relations, exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, as well as on developments taking place in regional and international fora,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said.
South Africa and Austria have a cordial trade and investment relationship, with total trade in 2015 amounting to R7.76 billion.
South African direct investments in Austria amounted to about R43 billion at the end of 2014, against about R10 billion Austrian investments in South Africa.
#KhombiSA Germany on the move in Mamelodi
24 October 2016
On Saturday, the Mamelodi Amalgamated Taxi Association (MATA) welcomed Ambassador Walter Lindner and awarded him a license to drive #KhombiSAGermany in Mamelodi for the day.
The Ambassador transported local commuters from Denneboom taxi rank to various areas in Mamelodi. Commuters were delighted to be driven by the Ambassador and were so happy to have the chance to have a conversation with the Ambassador, whilst enjoying the ride to their destination.
“It is important to connect with local communities and see how they experience day to day life. I’m very happy to be able to be part of the community in Mamelodi,” said the Ambassador on Saturday.
As a former taxi driver himself, the Ambassador discussed working conditions with local taxi drivers. “Working conditions in the local taxi industry are really tough, but it’s important to know that taxi drivers are making a valuable impact on the local transport economy,” said Ambassador Linder during the discussions.
Nixtamalisation an indigenous knowledge
20 October 2016
The Agricultural Research Council of South Africa (ARC) partnered with the Mexican Embassy in South Africa to jointly host a roundtable discussion and share knowledge on the ancient Mexican technology of nixtamalisation of maize.
Mesoamericans domesticated maize 8,000 years ago and learned how to obtain the highest nutritional value from it through nixtamalisation, a process of cooking maize in limewater, and hulled.
Photo: Dr Shadrack Moephuli, ARC President and CEO at the podium and Ambassador Mauricio Escanero of Mexico to South Africa (on the far right)
The discussion would serve as a platform to start a useful and meaningful conversation on the topic, networking, and facilitating a mutually beneficial partnership. Stakeholders and key actors from the scientific, academic, public and private sectors from the Southern African region, as well as from relevant regional bodies such as NEPAD and SADC would assess the advantages, opportunities and challenges of maize nixtamalisation.
A lecture on the Cultural Anthropology of Maize, as well as a Symposium on nixtamalisation was also jointly held by the Embassy of Mexico and the University of Pretoria in commemoration of World Food Day on October 16th.
Charting the way forward
24 October 2016
Heads of South Africa’s diplomatic missions abroad met in Tshwane for the biennial conference to assess national, regional, continental and global trends and dynamics.
The conference helps to determine a strategy to be implemented in line with South Africa’s foreign policy vision and mission.
The conference took place for the week and concluded on Friday, 21 October 2016.
The programme was divided into various themes looking into the role of South Africa’s diplomatic missions in the promotion and implementation of government's priorities and programmes, particularly the National Development Plan, the implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063, and the full realisation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The conference also served as a platform for South Africa’s diplomats to be briefed about progress on government’s programmes and plans. They were addressed by amongst others, President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
National Down Syndrome Awareness Day- 20 October
Thursday 20th October marks National Down Syndrome Day (NDSD), designated by our late President Mr Nelson Mandela to create awareness about Down syndrome. Down syndrome (known as Trisomy 21) is the most common and naturally occurring chromosomal genetic condition and is the largest single cause of intellectual disabilities. In South Africa, one in every 500 live births is a baby born with Down syndrome.
Down Syndrome South Africa (known as DSSA), established in 1986 as a non-profit organisation celebrates its 30th Birthday and the theme for this year is FAMILIES, what better way to kick off the celebration for this year’s commemoration than to honour the heroic efforts of all the families that have fought for the constitutional rights of their children with Down syndrome.
VISION: To ensure equal access, dignity and respect for all persons with Down syndrome.
MISSION: Improve the quality of life of persons with and affected by Down syndrome.
AIM: To be the driver of change in changing pubic perception around Down syndrome and to empower persons with Down syndrome and their families.
DOWN SYNDROME SOUTH AFRICA has regional branches/support groups across the country that will be hosting activities to celebrate National Down Syndrome Day. These awareness days play an important part in the positive shifts in attitudes towards persons with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.
South African winemakers participate in the 2016 Georgian harvest season
By Ambassador Beka Dvali, Embassy of Georgia, Pretoria
13 October 2016
Four South African winemakers,two from Robertson Winery and one each from Van Loveren and Excelsior Wineries have left for Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, to participate in the Georgian harvest season which started on the 10th of September and lasts until the end of October 2016. Two of them are placed at Qimerioni Winery, and one each at Kheraba and Shilda Wineries. Khareba Winery is the largest winery in Georgia. The three Georgian wineries are located in the world famous Kakheti wine region bordering the Caucasus Mountains.
Georgia is globally known as the “Cradle of Wine”, boasting 8,000 years of scientifically proven, unbroken tradition of winemaking. Therefore, no surprise that the first exposition you see entering London’s famouse world wine museum - Vinopolis - is on Georgian wine and that the large-scale exhibition dedicated to Georgian viticulture and wine making will be conducted in 2017 at the Wine Museum and Cultural Center (http://www.laciteduvin.com/en) launched in Bordeaux, France just recently, in June 2016.
Building Prospects for Closer Economic Integration
By Srimal Fernando Global Editor
The weekend of October 15th saw the eighth BRICS summit taking place in the western Indian state of Goa. At this historic summit heads of state and leaders of the world's five major emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met on 15 and 16 October 2016 to boost trade, cultural exchange and economic partnerships.
Group Photograph Front row: BRICS Leaders (l-r) Michel Temer of Brazil, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Narendra Modi of India, Xi Jinping of China and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
Second row: BIMSTEC leaders ( l-r): Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Virasakdi Futrakul, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand
This year's summit in India is themed "Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions." The five nations BRICS grouping have a combined nominal GDP of US$16 trillion and collectively accounts for 23 percent of global Gross national product (GNP), and 40 percent, 3.6 billion people, of the world’s population (BRICS, Ministry of External Relations Brazil 2015).
Mr Guterres appointed next Secretary-General of the United Nations
The South African Government extends its warm congratulations to Mr António Guterres from Portugal following his appointment by the United Nations General Assembly as the organisation’s 9th Secretary-General. Mr Guterres will serve a five-year term from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2021.
Mr Guterres brings with him a wealth of experience. He served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.
South Africa believes it was due to the concerted efforts by the membership of the General Assembly to regain its Charter-mandated role in the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General that enabled the appointment of such an exceptional candidate.
In his vision statement to the General Assembly, Mr Guterres highlighted a number of priority issues that are aligned with South Africa’s foreign policy objectives, including:
• Viewing security and development as a continuum not to be pursued separately;
• Emphasising the importance of preventive diplomacy aimed at achieving political solutions based on inclusive engagement; and
• Increased cooperation with regional organisations.
Nobel Prize 2016 Winners
The Nobel Prizes, established by Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel in 1895, recognizes achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. Here's a list of the 2016 Nobel Prize winners.
Nobel Peace Prize
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220 000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people. The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process. This tribute is paid, not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war.
President Santos initiated the negotiations that culminated in the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, and he has consistently sought to move the peace process forward. Well knowing that the accord was controversial, he was instrumental in ensuring that Colombian voters were able to voice their opinion concerning the peace accord in a referendum. The outcome of the vote was not what President Santos wanted: a narrow majority of the over 13 million Colombians who cast their ballots said no to the accord. This result has created great uncertainty as to the future of Colombia. There is a real danger that the peace process will come to a halt and that civil war will flare up again. This makes it even more important that the parties, headed by President Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londoño, continue to respect the ceasefire.