13 June 2011
South Africa and the United Kingdom have reaffirmed their target of doubling trade between the two countries by 2015.
Following the 9th SA-UK Bilateral Forum last week, where the South African delegation was led by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane, the two countries agreed to focus on building trade and investment in various sectors.
These include infrastructure and engineering, higher education and skills, energy, natural resources, ICT, financial services, and healthcare.
Increasing regional trade
Speaking in the opening of the forum in London last week, Nkoana-Mashabane emphasised the importance of increasing intra- and inter-regional trade in Africa for the benefit of the continent’s people.
To this end, the United Kingdom welcomed South Africa’s championing of the North-South Corridor’s infrastructure and committed to continuing the United Kingdom’s support of African efforts to build a Tripartite Africa Free Trade Area.
The United Kingdom also announced a £1.5-million Prosperity Fund to support projects in South Africa that are linked to low carbon growth, trade and prosperity.
It also committed £76-million between 2011 and 2015 to support the South African government in boosting growth and jobs, improving health, tackling climate change and reducing violence against women.
‘Dynamic new phase’
“During interactions, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and her British counterpart William Hague committed both countries to work together to build strong, sustainable and inclusive economies that promote national economic stability, regional and international growth, and bilateral business links between South Africa and the United Kingdom,” International Relations’ spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a statement last week.
Monyela described the minister’s visit to the UK as successful and the relations between the two countries as having entered a dynamic new phase.
He said ties between the two countries go much further, and include shared language and cultural links, similar systems of law and finance, and a shared passion for sport.
“Both countries also share a common interest in promoting trade and a rules-based international system.”