SA and Germany commit to improved bilateral relations
President Cyril Ramaphosa holds a tête-à-tête with Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Federal Republic of Germany during an official visit at the Union Buildings in Tshwane (Photo: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS)
24 May 2022
The Federal Republic of Germany has committed to support South Africa’s efforts towards industrialisation, infrastructure development and job creation as laid out in the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. President Cyril Ramaphosa told this to the media following bilateral talks with his German Counterpart, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, on Tuesday.
The two Statesmen earlier engaged in a tête-à-tête where they discussed a number of issues of bilateral and international concern, including ways to enhance cooperation in areas such as energy and climate change, trade and investment, and responses to COVID-19 and vaccine demand.
Germany has been a partner in development since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and the inauguration of the Bi-National Commission in 1996.
It is South Africa’s second largest trading partner and in tourism, the third largest single source of overseas arrivals.
The President said they discussed avenues to increase trade and investment of German companies in South Africa, but also of South African companies into Germany.
“This cooperation has been in a range of fields, including good governance and strengthening democracy, HIV prevention, climate actions and energy,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said they also discussed the next steps in the Just Transition Partnership concluded between South Africa, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union last year.
“This historic partnership will support our just transition to a low-carbon economy and climate resilient society in a manner that leaves no-one behind,” he said.
President Ramaphosa and Chancellor Scholz also spoke extensively on supporting young people and integrating them into the workplace.
Another important area of cooperation between the two countries is that of vocational training and how young people can be more effectively integrated into the world of work.
“There is much we can learn from the German mode of dual education and how German companies integrate the training of young people in the working environment,” he said.
In turn, Chancellor Scholz said that Germany is working together with South Africa in the field of cooperation for developing skills.
Scholz agreed with President Ramaphosa that it is necessary to do a lot for young people and “if they have a chance for training and education together, it is big progress.”
Vaccine manufacturing in Africa
President Ramaphosa lauded Germany for being a dependable supporter of Africa’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
He expressed the country’s gratitude to Chancellor Scholz for the assistance Germany has given not just to South Africa, but the entire African continent.
“We also discussed the support Germany can lend to our efforts to ensure that vaccines produced in Africa are given greater market share in developed countries, and that vaccines destined for African populations should be procured locally,” Ramaphosa said.
Earlier, President Ramaphosa told Chancellor Scholz that efforts to produce vaccines in South Africa have suffered a setback as there are no buyers for vaccines that are produced in Africa.
"This is a matter of great concern for us and this is an area that should also concern you because you have been in the forefront of helping us as the continent to move up the ladder of being able to produce vaccines. We believe that vaccines destined for Africa should be produced in Africa,” he said.
In turn, Chancellor Scholz said he was happy to have helped with the manufacturing of vaccines in Africa and South Africa in particular. "We should increase the investment in your country, making it more easy is one of the aspects we will discuss,” he said.
War in Ukraine
During their discussions, President Ramaphosa and Chancellor Scholz spoke about the war in Ukraine and the need for negotiations to bring about an end to the conflict.
President Ramaphosa said that Chancellor Scholz and himself discussed a broad range of international issues, including the pursuit of peace and security on the African continent.
“We also discussed the conflict in Ukraine and the need for the international community to encourage dialogue and negotiation towards a peaceful resolution,” he said.
Earlier, Chancellor Scholz weighed in on the war, saying it is necessary for peace in the world that the war stops as soon as possible.
"We have to convince Russia that they will go out of the war and peace has a chance for Ukraine and the development of all of us,” he said.
Later today, Chancellor Scholz and his delegation will be visiting Sasol place in Sandton for the launch of a South African-German consortium that will advance technology research for the production of sustainable aviation fuels.
President Ramaphosa said the launch is a historic partnership for the development of carbon emissions reduction technologies, including green hydrogen. –SAnews.gov.za