A high-level United Kingdom delegation will arrive in the country next week for a visit that will focus on strengthening commercial opportunities, science and innovation, skills development and education relations with South Africa.
The delegation will be led by the Mayor of London, Alderman Fiona Woolf, the Minister for Africa James Duddridge and Prime Minister David Cameron’s Prime Minister’s trade envoy to South Africa, Baroness Patricia Scotland.
The delegation will use the four-day working visit to meet with some cabinet ministers, the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank Gill Marcus as well as provincial and municipal heads and business leaders.
Woolf is expected to deliver a keynote address at a regional energy security summit hosted by ENS Africa.
The mayor said he was looking forward to visiting South Africa as ambassador for the UK-based financial and professional services industry.
With South Africa being an important market for UK investors, he will be leading members of the business community to help strengthen and grow business ties between the United Kingdom and South Africa, according to a statement by the British High Commission in Pretoria.
Duddridge, who is making his first visit to the country, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Minister for Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor.
His schedule also includes launching the UK-SA Newton Fund for science research and collaboration and an address the British Chamber of Business in Southern Africa on ‘British Business in Africa’.
Speaking ahead of his visit, Duddridge noted the g bilateral relationship between the UK and South Africa which cut across a wide range of issues from foreign policy and trade to science and innovation, climate change, and cultural relations.
“[The year] 2014 marks South Africa’s 20th year of freedom and democracy. We are working closely with South African partners to celebrate this milestone by strengthening our people to people links with 20 partnerships for the future in many areas, including business, arts, culture, education, skills, science and sport,” he said.
Baroness Scotland will visit schools in Soweto and Alexandra and host an Education and Skills Forum to enhance the bilateral relationship in the area of education, which is of importance to both countries.
“I am particularly pleased to be in South Africa to promote the education and skills partnership, a sector in which the UK has real strengths which we are keen to use to support South Africa’s skills development programmes and deliver prosperity for both our countries,” he said.
The delegation will visit the country from Monday until Thursday.
South Africa and the UK have longstanding historic relations, which cover a wide range of cooperation in the fields of trade, health, technology and education, among others.
UK is also one of the important sources of Foreign Direct Investment into South Africa from Europe, with total investment for the period January 2009 to June 2012 at R44.3 billion.
In 2012, the UK was South Africa’s seventh largest export market. It also continues to be one of the important sources of long haul tourists to South Africa.
Source : SAnews.gov.za