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Vietnam extends a hand to South Africa

1 November 2018

A high level delegation from Vietnam will arrive in South Africa this weekend, after visiting Nigeria and Cameroon.

The delegation - led by Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Vuong Dinh Hue, Politburo member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) - will hold a number of meetings aimed at promoting bilateral relations.

Photo: Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr Vuong Dinh Hue addressing an event in Hanoi. He leads a delegation to South Africa this weekend.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries were signed in 1993, with Vietnam opening an embassy in Pretoria in 2000.

The Vietnamese economy, led by its agriculture sector, was ravaged by the consequences of the Vietnam War, and poverty in the country was rife. However the “Doi Moi” (Renovation) policy adopted in the mid-1980’s changed its economy from a centrally planned model to an open market one, and the business environment improved.

Today Vietnam is a middle-income country and one of the most dynamic emerging countries in the East Asia region, according to the World Bank.

Last year Vietnam and South Africa celebrated 25 years of friendship and the visit this weekend comes against a backdrop of a number of other important meetings in 2019: the visit of a CPV delegation; a trade delegation to SA showcasing Vietnamese products including rice, coffee, processed food and construction materials at the South African International Trade Exhibition in June, and a meeting of the South Africa-Vietnam Intergovernmental Partnership Forum for economic, trade, scientific, technical and cultural co-operation.

South Africa is Vietnam’s leading trade partner on the continent (with bilateral trade of US $1.1 billion last year) and the hope is that closer alignment will remove barriers and increase this to US $2bn over the next five years.

Vietnam has signed a series of free trade agreements (FTAs) and is in the process of negotiating and ratifying many more partnerships to boost its economy.

The South Africa-Vietnam Trade and Investment Forum will meet on Monday, November 4, and hopes to help businesses to find opportunities for enhanced cooperation.

Many countries, including South Africa have supported Vietnam in its struggle for independence, liberation of the South, national reunification, and its course to innovate, integrate and develop.

Next year, South Africa and Vietnam will be non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and while South Africa assumes the rotating chairmanship of the AU, Vietnam will hold a similar position on ASEAN.

This provides a further opportunity for the two countries to play regional and international roles, especially in proposing initiatives and cooperating to enhance the relationship between the AU and ASEAN, and to promote peace and prosperity in the world.




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