SA participates in 3rd Indian Ocean Conference


South Africa is participating in the 3rd Indian Ocean Conference which is expected to promote strategic cooperation and trade ties between regional countries, among others.

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Luwellyn Landers will represent South Africa in the conference which kicks off this morning at Hanoi, Vietnam, under the theme: “Building Regional Architectures”.

The two-day conference, which will draw 250 attendees from 43 countries and territories, will also consolidate security frameworks and administrative processes, and contribute to regional peace, stability, development and connectivity.

South Africa as the current Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) encompasses the view that the Indian Ocean Region should be characterized as a region of peace, stability and development within which to pursue the goal of promoting socio-economic cooperation for the well-being and development of the countries and peoples of the Indian Ocean Rim.

The theme adopted for the SA’s tenure as Chair from 2017-2019 is: “IORA – uniting the peoples of Africa, Asia, Australasia, and the Middle East through enhanced cooperation for peace, stability and sustainable development”.

The Deputy Minister will further highlight the contribution by former President Nelson Mandela as the Founding Father of IORA in the year that the country is celebrating his centenary.

Bilateral trade relations between South Africa and Vietnam have been growing year-on-year. South Africa’s trade with Vietnam in 2017 amounted to about R16.8 billion.

Meanwhile, DIRCO’s Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule is also representing the country in another high-level meeting – the Singapore-Sub-Saharan High-Level Ministerial Exchange.

While in Singapore, Deputy Minister Mhaule will also take part in the Africa-Singapore Business Forum (ASBF), taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This biannual gathering, which was first launched in 2010, is a premier platform for business exchange and fostering trade and investment between Africa and Asia.

As an integral part of its policy of promoting the overseas growth for Singapore-based companies and international trade, the Singaporean government is also focusing on Africa as a source of new markets through initiatives such as the ASBF and the Sub-Saharan High-Level Ministerial Exchange, DIRCO said.

South Africa and Singapore established diplomatic relations in 1992 and over the years the warm relations have been marked among other things, an exchange of high-level visits.

The current bilateral mechanism that allows the two countries to optimise existing cooperation is the South Africa-Singapore Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) which takes place annually.

Singapore hosted the 4th FOC in 2017 and in 2018 South Africa will host the 5th FOC.