9 May 2012
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe opened the 7th South Africa-Germany Bi-National Commission in Berlin on Tuesday by extending an invitation to the European nation to invest in South Africa’s massive state-led infrastructure drive.
“We are targeting a range of areas, including roads, rail, ports, water infrastructure and telecommunications,” Motlanthe said in his opening remarks at commission. “To this end, we wish to invite the government of Germany and German corporates to participate in this important initiative.”
Motlanthe said that, while the commission was sitting during a challenging time for Europe and the global economy, the two countries should not lose sight of the goals they had in common.
“Both our countries share the goals of enhancing peace and security; good governance; the rule of law; democracy and human rights; economic development; and indeed, dealing with the challenges posed by climate change, as well as finding new sources of energy.”
To address these challenges, constant monitoring and detailed analysis so as to find practical solutions was required, Motlanthe said.
The economic crises in Europe and other parts of the world had had a ripple effect around the globe, the Deputy President said, resulting in a significant decline in South Africa’s exports between 2008 and 2009.
“However, we are pleased that our trade with Germany is approximating levels previously reached before the crisis of 2008.”
Tuesday’s meeting discussed issues such as renewable energy and education and training, and assessed progress made since the last Bi-National Commission, held in South Africa in 2010.
The meeting also touched on global issues such as the Eurozone and problems facing the African continent, including the African Union’s post-conflict and reconstruction development programme.