21 October 2011
Trade between Sweden and South Africa has increased significantly over the past couple of years but has the potential to grow further, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe told the 7th South Africa-Swedish Binational Commission in Stockholm on Thursday.
Motlanthe said trade between the two economies offered many growth opportunities for increased investment and technical cooperation.
The Deputy President said that since the last meeting of the commission two years ago, the international arena had changed significantly, and that the current deliberations were taking place during extraordinary times.
“As you are aware, we have witnessed various challenges arising out of social conflicts in North Africa and some countries in Middle East; thus adding new challenges to an already burdened multilateral system of governance.
“These challenges are further compounded by uncertainties in the global economy and their negative impact, requiring that we all work together to develop a response,” he said.
Motlanthe reaffirmed the government’s view on the importance of a continued international humanitarian effort to tackle global poverty.
South Africa and Sweden’s joint commitment to stability, progress and sustainable development should serve as the basis for equal and constructive partnerships in the two countries’ multilateral efforts, he said.
The Deputy President acknowledged the Swedish government’s ongoing support for institution building in Africa. “We are happy that we can count on the support of your country in fulfilling our vision to make the 21st century, the African Century.”
The two countries also shared interests in areas such as education, research and development; investment in food processing; and developing the “green” economy to create jobs and to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“We also hope that this meeting will unlock further opportunities for cultural exchanges in order to promote our respective tourism industries and to strengthen our people-to-people contact,” he said.
“I am aware that we are both determined to review the implementation of commitments made before and to develop further programmes of cooperation between our countries.”
Motlanthe was optimistic that at the end of his visit, both sides would have completed a clear roadmap to take the countries forward on the enhancement of their political and economic relations.