International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has concluded a successful working visit to Sweden today, Monday, 16 November 2015.
The visit to Sweden was aimed at reaffirming bilateral relations between South Africa and Sweden and the importance of the Bi-national Commission as the structured bilateral mechanism to deepen cooperation between the two countries.
The BNC between South Africa and Sweden is at the level of Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister and is the only structured dialogue process of its kind, at this level, that South Africa has with any EU member state.The 9th Session of the Bi-national Commission, which took place on 19 – 20 October 2015 in Stockholm, further strengthened cooperation in a broad range of areas, including the Blue Economy, skills development and training, climate change, waste management, renewable energy, and cooperation in science and technology.
While in Stockholm, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane held bilateral talks with her counterpart, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ms Margot Wallström. The Ministers discussed issues of mutual interest on bilateral, regional and multilateral matters, particularly in the area peace-building. The Ministers agreed to enhance partnerships for increased collaboration in the training of female mediators in Africa and beyond in conflict resolution and peace-making.
The visit also included a wreath laying ceremony in memoriam of the late former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Anna Lindh and a meeting with the President of the Social Democratic Women in Sweden, Ms Carina Ohlsson, MP; the Director of the Swedish Foreign Policy Institute, Mr Mats Karlson; and with Swedish NGOs working with gender issues.
Sweden ranks among South Africa’s major trading partners within the EU. The overall trade between the two countries, despite fluctuations, grew from R13.1 billion in 2010 to R13.6 billion in 2014. South African exports increased from R2. 3 billion to R2. 4 billion between 2013 and 2014 due to an increase in demand for agro-processed products and advanced manufactured goods such as grape wines, beverage spirits, vinegar, iron and steel. Imports from Sweden on the other hand grew by 14% between 2010 and 2012 to R12 billion.
Mr Clayson Monyela
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SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS