African Union Launches World’s Largest Single Electricity Market 

9 June 2021

The African Union officially launched the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM), the world’s largest continent-wide energy trading program meant to interconnect all 55 African Union Member States through efficient, affordable, and sustainable electricity market. The event took place on 3rd of June 2021.

Held virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the launching ceremony was attended by high profile officials of the African Union Commission (AUC) including H.E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa the Deputy Chairperson and H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid Infrastructure and Energy Commissioner, dignitaries from the 55-Member States, representatives of AU Specialized Institutions, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and their institutions as well as development partners and the media, among others. The European Union, which supported the AU in designing AfSEM was represented by the EU Commissioner for Energy, H.E. Mrs. Kadri Simson.

South Africa and Rwanda to normalise diplomatic relations

Ministers Vincent Biruta and Naledi Pandor (photo: Jacoline Scoonees/Dirco)

8 June 2021

Dr Vincent Biruta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda was on a working visit to South Africa on 4 June 2021. He met with his South Africa counterpart Dr Naledi Pandor.

The two Ministers met to assess the current state of bilateral relations as well as to iron out challenges that are affecting the conduct of relations between South Africa and Rwanda.

In a joint statement at the conclusion of the working visit the Ministers recalled the good bilateral relations that existed between the two countries prior to the events that led to the straining of relations in 2013.

We exist as one
Dr Fabiola Quesada with Ambassador Carlos Fernández-Arias of Spain

7 June 2021

There are many limitations to the thinking that humans, animals and the environment exist separately. “Many of our shortcomings,” says Dr Fabiola Quesada, Founder of the Wild Spirit Fund, “stem from this short-sightedness. The chaos in the world caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is giving rise to the realisation that the three are all connected,” said Quesada at an official presentation of Wild Spirit Fund hosted by Mr Carlos Fernández-Arias, Ambassador of Spain to South Africa in conjunction with the Spanish Chamber of Commerce.

Powering the economy through alternative energy

5 June 2021

South Africa is finalising the much-anticipated Hydrogen Society Roadmap as the country shapes its industrialisation and economic pathway.

This development was recently outlined by the Department of Science and Innovation’s (DSI) Chief Director for Hydrogen and Energy, Dr Rebecca Maserumule.

Crafting the document began last year and is expected to be finalised in the next three months.

Dr Maserumule outlined this during a webinar on the future of alternative energy sources.

World Environment Day Propels the Global Community's Urgent Need to Restore the Earth's Ecosystem

5 June 2021

This decade will see a concerted rally of efforts to protect and revive ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature, said South Africa's Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy.

Addressing the 2021 World Environment Day at the Pretoria National Botanical Gardens, the Minister said that the restoration of ecosystems means putting efforts to recover degraded or destroyed ecosystems, including conserving remaining intact ecosystems for the continued delivery of valuable services to the people.

Sardar Bibi Maryam Bakhtiari

Dr Ahmad Ali Mohsenzadeh, Cultural Counselor of the Embassy of Iran in South Africa with the recently published book Sardar Bibi Maryam Bakhtiari

4 June 2021

The book SARDAR BIBI MARYAM BAKHTIARI, researched and written by Dr. Parichehr Soltani Zaraswand, narrates the struggle and self-sacrifice of this brave lady during the constitutional period and resistance against the colonialism of her time.

The Cultural Consulate of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has now published this book in South Africa with the hope of inspiring the revolutionary South African minds, especially the brave women of this country whose contribution in the liberation struggle cannot be overlooked.

Democracy in Iran fruit of Imam Khomeini Thoughts

3 June 2021

During Islamic Republic, Sharia (Islamic law) was introduced. Shortly after the return of Imam Khomeini from exile in 1979, he issued a fatwa ordering that Jews and other minorities be treated well. By law, several seats in the Parliament are reserved for minority religions. Imam Khomeini also called for unity between Sunni and Shia Muslims (Sunni Muslims are the largest religious minority in Iran).

And ten days later by the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini declared a provisional government. On March 30, 1979, and March 31, 1979, Iranian vote in a referendum on the question of accepting an Islamic Republic as the new system of the country. Through the ballot box, over 98% voted in favor of replacing the monarchy with an Islamic Republic. The constitution requires that a president be elected every four years. This democratic process has continued and now the 13th presidential election in Iran is scheduled to be held on June 18. In addition to that, 10 parliamentary elections and dozens of elections for city and village councils and the Assembly of Experts have been held so far.

BRICS Foreign Ministers discuss Covid-19 challenges and reform of the Multilateral System

BRICS Foreign Minister's virtual meeting (photo: Jacoline Schoonees/Dirco)

3 June 2021

As chair of BRICS, India's External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar hosted a virtual meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers on 1 June 2021. The meeting was attended by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor and Brazil's Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto Franco.

The meeting focused on the response to the Covid-19 crisis and equitable access to vaccines. India and South Africa have been pushing for a waiver of patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The BRICS members stressed the need to promote initiatives aimed at ensuring timely, affordable, and equitable access to, as well as the distribution of diagnostics, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines, and essential health products and technologies, and their components, as well as equipment to combat COVID-19 pandemic and to support the achievement of universal health coverage including preventive measures and actions.

Innovation Diplomacy, Viral Pandemic and Changing Attitudes

The Diplomatic Society together with Diplomatic World hosted a webinar titled 'Innovation Diplomacy'. The full video is available to view on YouTube in the link above.

2 June 2021

“The ongoing pandemic has changed the way we live. It will also change the way diplomacy is conducted. Diplomacy has gone virtual and diplomats have been deprived of one of their most potent tools: personal contact. Last year, for example, and for the first time ever, the 75th United Nations General Assembly – the annual meeting of world leaders in New York – was held in a virtual format with pre-recorded video presentations and videoconferences by world leaders.

“There is a strong consensus that we need to build back better after COVID-19. For this to happen, new innovative approaches are needed as we adapt to new circumstances, and I am certain that today’s speakers will shed some light on this topic.

The African Heads of Missions in Greece co-organized an online Africa Day Conference with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

2 June 2021

On 26 May 2021, the African Group of Ambassadors in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs co organized an Africa Day online Conference under the 2021 AU theme ” The Arts, Culture and Heritage. Levers the Africa we want". H.E. Mr Nikos Dendias, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic, honored Africa Day as the key note speaker of the online celebration.

Prominent speakers, included H.E Ms. Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil, African Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development; H.E. Mr Nicholas Yatromanolakis. Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic; Mr Spyros Kouvelis, Former Minister of State for Foreign Economic, Cultural, and Environmental Affairs of the Hellenic Republic; Mr Michalis Saris, Former Minister of Economic Affairs of Cyprus; Mr Sotiris Mousouris, President of the Hellenic Africa Chamber of Commerce and Development and HE. Mr Ismail Khairat, Ambassador of Egypt.

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