30 April 2013
South Africa and Germany have committed to further increasing their economic and political cooperation following an official visit to the country by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
Westerwelle held talks with International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in Pretoria on Monday, before paying a courtesy visit to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
“This morning we had extensive discussions on both bilateral and multilateral issues,” Nkoana-Mashabane told journalists following her meeting with Westerwelle. “We have reaffirmed our strategic partnership. Our cooperation is deep and covers many areas.”
Germany is South Africa’s third-biggest trading partner and second-biggest investor. According to the 2012 tourism figures released last week by the Department of Tourism, Germany is also South Africa’s third-largest overseas tourism market.
The country is also a big supporter of South Africa’s national development priorities, having donated millions of rands over the years in technical cooperation support.
Through last year’s South African-German Year of Science partnership, more than 40 joint research projects were undertaken by scientists from both countries, focusing on renewable energy, health, pharmaceuticals and information communication technology.
“South Africa also remains an important partner politically,” Westerwelle said. “We followed the recent BRICS summit you [hosted], and we welcome your commitment to African and regional integration.
“We highly value your commitment to peace and security in the continent and we value your commitment to peace keeping missions in Africa.”
He described the meeting with Nkoana-Mashabane as an excellent opportunity to deepen relations between Germany and South Africa.
Westerwelle’s visit is part of his African tour, which included Ghana and Mozambique.
“It is in our mutual interest to establish partnerships with African nations,” he said. “We are not limited in our thoughts. Africa is a continent full of opportunities.”