Press release

Foreign Secretary hosts UK-South Africa Bilateral Forum in London

Foreign Secretary reaffirms strength of UK - South Africa relationship at Bilateral Forum in London.

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Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashsabane co-chaired the 11th UK - South Africa Bilateral Forum in London. The Forum, attended by Ministers and senior officials from a range of government departments from both countries, agreed a communiqué setting out further and deeper cooperation on international security, trade, development, science and innovation, and people-to-people links.

On the international agenda, the Foreign Secretary and Minister Mashabane welcomed agreement of the Global Goals at the UN General Assembly last month and looked ahead towards an ambitious climate change agreement in Paris in December, building on the legacy of the Durban summit.

Ministers agreed to strengthen the commercial relationship, already worth £10bn annually and welcomed the development of strong bilateral chambers of commerce and meetings of the South Africa-UK Business Council. Almost 50% of foreign direct investment in South Africa originates from the UK, worth over £35bn, creating an estimated 250,000 jobs. South African investment in the UK is worth almost £50bn with over 650 companies operating here.

Ministers also discussed how the UK can partner South Africa in delivering its ambitious National Development Plan.

Speaking at the Forum, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:

The United Kingdom and South Africa enjoy a long-standing, deep and broad relationship. These links support mutual prosperity and create opportunities for economic and social development in both countries. We also continue to work closely to help strengthen the international rules-based system.

A number of side events involving representatives from business and civil society displayed the breadth of UK - South Africa cooperation.

Minister for Africa, Grant Shapps, spoke at a Youth Entrepreneurs event promoting links between the next generation of business leaders.

Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson and South African Minister for Science and Technology Naledi Pandor highlighted the flagship UK/South African Newton Fund Programme jointly worth up to £8m per year, and looked forward to further cooperation around the Square Kilometre Array Telescope and industry partnerships worth £8.5m through the UK’s International Space Partnerships Programme.

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Published 19 October 2015