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South African and Dutch companies partner in various sectors

17 November 2015

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands is on an official visit to South Africa and was received by President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings. Prime Minister Rutte is accompanied by a sizeable business delegation while on his visit, which President Zuma said augurs well for the countries’ economic relations. He said trade and investment were the backbone of relations that exist between the two countries. He said total trade between the two countries had increased consistently from R27 billion in 2010 to R48 billion in 2014.
The Dutch have also invested in about 40 projects in South Africa with direct investment volume estimated at over R14 billion over the period 2003 to 2015 in financial services, aerospace, transport, business services, biotechnology and information technology and software sectors.
President Zuma said he was looking forward to enhanced relations between the two countries, building on the rich history and common beliefs in democracy, freedom, human rights, equality and other values that make the world a better place.

Media statement by President Zuma at the media briefing during the Netherlands Official Visit by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Union Buildings, Pretoria.

Honourable Prime Minister,

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

Let me once again extend a warm welcome to my honoured guest, Excellency Prime Minister Rutte and his delegation.

We are truly pleased with this visit because our two countries share a historical bond. The Dutch people stood with the oppressed people of South Africa during a most difficult period in our history.

The Netherlands became a powerful centre of the Anti-Apartheid Movement during the struggle for liberation.

Amsterdam for example became the hub of the anti-apartheid movement and many historic conferences and activities took place in that beautiful city.

We also fondly recall the twenty thousand people in Amsterdam who welcomed our founding President Mr Nelson Mandela, four months after his release from prison, demonstrating their love for Madiba and their support for a free South Africa.

It is in this context that the roving Signs of Solidarity exhibition was showcased at various locations in both South Africa and the Netherlands in the course of 2014 as part of South Africa’s 20 years of Freedom and Democracy celebration.

Since 1994, South Africa and the Netherlands have forged a solid partnership that transcends many fields including economic, education, agriculture, trade, science and technology, education, judicial, multilateral and culture to mention but a few.
 
The visit by the Prime Minister will certainly take these relations and cooperation to a higher level.
 
We are in agreement on the need at this time to elevate our relations.  We are pleased that our ministers responsible for foreign affairs will sign the agreement establishing a Joint Commission at The Hague on Thursday, which will help to coordinate and guide the broad and substantive scope of our relationship.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by a sizeable business delegation which augurs well for our economic relations.
 
The Netherlands is of particular interest to South Africa as a trade and investment partner. Total trade between the two countries increased consistently from twenty seven billion rand in 2010 to forty eight billion rand in 2014.
 
The Dutch have also invested in about 40 projects in South Africa with direct investment volume estimated at over fifteen billion rand over the period 2003 to 2015 in the following sectors: Financial Services, Aerospace, transport, business services, biotechnology and IT and Software.
 
The Prime Minister and I discussed even more possible investment opportunities, such as in South Africa’s ocean economy, energy and other key priorities.

I have been informed of the House of the Future  project taking place in Newtown which will enable South African and Dutch companies to partner in various sectors.

The message we want to communicate to our Dutch partners is simple and clear: South Africa is open for business and investment.

The Netherlands will next year be President of the EU. We would like to reaffirm our commitment to stronger relations between South Africa and the EU. We look forward to the South Africa-EU meeting to be held next year.

Prime Minister,
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
We meet during a period when global security is in sharp focus following the senseless attacks in Paris.  We returned this morning from the successful G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey where the attacks drew condemnation from all world leaders.
 
We remain firm in our condemnation of all forms of terrorism.

Prime Minister the horrific attacks in Paris and also Turkey, Lebanon and the ongoing terror attacks in parts of Nigeria and sporadic attacks in Kenya remind us that the scourge of terrorism requires urgent attention, with an emphasis on dealing with the root causes.
 
It is our strong belief that the interference by outside parties in some countries and the pursuit of the regime change doctrine has perpetuated a cycle of conflict and instability in many parts of North Africa and the Middle East.
 
The preference for military action instead of political solutions becomes a breeding ground for violent extremism and terrorism.
The United Nations must be at the centre of collective global action against terrorism, working with regional organisations.

The international community must also redouble its efforts particularly in the quest for genuine peace in the Middle East.

It will be difficult to find lasting peace without resolving longstanding issues in the Middle East such as the Palestinian question.

We also wish to reiterate as well that terror attacks should not be used to label refugees as terrorists as that would have negative consequences.

It is a difficult situation but solutions can and must be found.

Mr Prime Minister,
 
At the end of the month the world will converge on Paris for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Twenty First Conference of the Parties.
 
We will continue to support France as the COP President, with a view to finding fair compromises and consensus positions between Parties.
 
We would like to see the adoption of an ambitious and legally-binding outcome in Paris that is applicable to all.
 
This would mark the successful conclusion of the mandate from the Durban COP 17.
 
The mandate from Durban was to adopt an internationally legally binding instrument under the UNFCCC that can comprehensively address climate change.
 
We look forward to a successful conference in Paris. We are pleased as well that the G20 leaders agreed that COP 21 must succeed.
 
Prime Minister, I am really happy that you have been able to undertake this first Official Visit to South Africa.

I look forward to enhanced relations between our two countries, building on the rich history and our common beliefs in democracy, freedom, human rights, equality and other values that make the world a better place.

I Thank you.

The South African Presidency

Photo: Kopano Tlape, GCIS

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