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President Zuma visits Berlin

Cooperation with South Africa to be stepped up

Germany and South Africa intend to cooperate more closely in a number of areas, including climate action, trade, development and measures to address terrorism, said Angela Merkel following talks with President Jacob Zuma. "South Africa is one of our most important partners on the African continent," she stressed.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Jacob Zuma The Chancellor welcomes President Zuma of the Republic of South Africa Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

Their meeting at the Federal Chancellery also explored international issues, including the situation in the African region.

Cooperation between the two countries is already very close and cordial, reported the Chancellor. "South Africa is one of our most important partners on the African continent," she stressed. On international issues, too, South Africa plays an important role.

Focus on climate and energy

In view of the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in a few weeks, the Chancellor welcomed South Africa’s engagement on climate-related issues. "South Africa holds the chair of the G77, and we are delighted that this country, which has already hosted climate conferences itself, is playing a very active part in ensuring that the Paris conference at the start of next month is a success," she stressed.

Close trade relations

Angela Merkel also pointed to the close economic cooperation between the two countries. It is encouraging to note that Germany is still South Africa’s second most important trading partner, and that over 600 German businesses are operating in South Africa. "Our trade figures just keep rising. We will see an all-time high this year with trade worth 15.5 billion," said the Chancellor.

President Jacob Gedhleyihlekisa Zuma also praised the intensive trade and business relations between the two countries. Further investment opportunities were discussed, he reported, including the maritime economy in South Africa.

South Africa is Germany’s most important trading partner on the African continent. In the fields of renewable energy, water and infrastructure in particular, business links between the two countries are close. In 2014 bilateral trade was worth 13.2 billion euros. South Africa imported goods from Germany worth about 8.3 billion euros and exported goods worth 4.9 billion euros to Germany, making Germany the country’s second largest trading partner. Since 2011 South Africa has been one of the BRICS states.

Stepping up development and research cooperation

In development cooperation close links already exist between Germany and South Africa. They include a bilateral energy partnership, cooperation arrangements in the field of science and research, and cooperation in the field of vocational education and training. "Pilot projects already exist within the framework of development cooperation," said Angela Merkel.

Engagement could, however, be further stepped up. "We would like to see more contacts, with interns or young South Africans coming to Germany to study or undertake research for a doctorate," stressed the Chancellor.

The German government appreciates South Africa as a "global development partner", and would like to engage in close consultation and coordination with South Africa in international bodies. The priority areas of bilateral development cooperation are energy and climate, governance and public administration, and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Tackling terrorism together

The Chancellor and the South African President discussed the challenges facing the African continent. "Burundi was one issue we discussed. We hope that South Africa will be able to bring to bear its experience to help achieve a peaceful solution," said the Chancellor.

They also discussed terrorism in Africa – the Islamic State from Libya and Boko Haram from Nigeria. "This is an area in which close cooperation between Europe and Africa is needed. It is another area in which South Africa has an important role to play," stressed Angela Merkel.

President Zuma pointed in particular to the security concerns of both Germany and South Africa in view of the conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East.

Mastering the refugee crisis

Both sides called for measures to address the root causes of the refugee conflict. In view of the migration flows in South Africa, the African Union too is very much interested in resolving the crisis, said the Chancellor.

The South African President stressed that, "Germany and South Africa play a leading role on these international issues, and we have agreed to continue our excellent cooperation in future both at bilateral level and at regional level."

President Zuma was accompanied by a delegation of seven South African ministers, including the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, the Minister of Trade and Industry and the Minister of Science and Technology. Following his meeting with the Chancellor, the President of South Africa met with Federal President Joachim Gauck. He also attended a seminar on vocational training in Berlin and took part in an event organised by SAFRI, the sub-Saharan Africa initiative of German industry. President Zuma took office as President of the Republic of South Africa in 2009 and has been President of the African National Congress (ANC) since 2007.

Nov 10, 2015