South Africa and United Kingdom promote African Agenda
Deputy Minister Ebrahim hosts the UK’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
12 November 2012
Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim hosted the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office responsible for Africa, Mr Mark Simmonds, for bilateral political and economic discussions. Mr Simmonds is in South Africa for a working visit.
The bilateral meeting took place within the context of strengthening North-South relations and promotion of the African Agenda.
The principals discussed the implementation of the SA-UK bilateral cooperation programme. South Africa and the UK have established a coordinating structure that meets every two years at Foreign Minister level, with the last having taken place in London in June 2011.
The discussions between Deputy Minister Ebrahim and Minister Simmonds included the strengthening of bilateral political and economic relations with a particular focus on South Africa’s national priorities: i.e. health, education, rural development, fighting corruption and crime, and creating jobs; African regional matters and the United Kingdom’s engagement in support of the African Agenda. The discussions will also include recent developments in the Middle East and other matters of mutual concern.
Bilateral relations between South Africa and the United Kingdom are strong across the board, covering fields as diverse as promotion of trade and investment; development co-operation; the environment; energy; and arts and culture. The frequent high-level visits in both directions underline this.
The UK is ranked SA’s fifth biggest export trading partner globally and its second biggest export trading partner in Europe (2011). Total trade between the countries in 2011 was R57.9 billion. The UK is recognised as the foremost source of foreign direct investment into South Africa while South African companies have equally made large investments in the UK. The UK is by far South Africa’s most significant source of long-haul tourists, a position it has not relinquished for the past 15 years. Total tourism from the UK in 2011 was 420 483.
This is Mr Simmonds first official visit to South Africa, since his appointment as the Minister for Africa on 5 September 2012.