Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane stresses the importance of local government in foreign policy implementation - 21 April 2012
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane stressed the importance of the local government sphere in the implementation of South Africa's foreign policy.
Speaking to an audience comprising of representatives of local government, the business sector as well as independent reseach institutions in Buffalo City (East London), Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said rapid urbanisation across the world requires cities to play a more effective role in the implementation of foreign policy.
Better coordination across the three spheres of goverment (i.e. national, provincial and local) will bring much-needed alignment and synergy when implementing international treaties as well as bilateral agreements signed between South Africa and its diplomatic partners across Africa and the world.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane noted that various South African cities have signed bilateral agreements with other cities across the world. In this regard, the Minister reiterated that the growth and prosperity of the African continent is a key pillar in South Africa's foreign policy. The Minister encouraged South African cities to explore possibilities for cooperation with fellow African cities. Africa's economy is growing at a rate second only to that of Asia.
During her speech, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa remains committed to working bilaterally with fellow African countries and collectively through SADC and the AU, for example. "In this regard, we believe part of the solution lies in strengthening our Pan-African institutions, notably the AU and its Commission; expanding our relations with key countries of the South, especially China, Brazil and India, in the context of South-South," said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane added: "We continue to work towards the consolidation of our traditional relations with countries of the North as well as with other like-minded countries for the strengthening of multilateralism in the context of globalization, where no single nation can deal successfully with global challenges on its own, and intensify the call for the transformation of institutions of global governance to reflect our contemporary geo-political realities".