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Economic diplomacy between Norway and South Africa

26 March 2018

South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers, hosted his Norwegian counterpart, Secretary-General Marienne Hagen, in Pretoria on 23 March 2018. The High Level Consultation meeting took place within the framework of the 1996 Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Political Consultations between the two countries.

(Photo: Jacoline Schoonees)

South Africa and Norway have developed a close relationship dating back to the early struggle years when Norway became an active supporter of organised resistance against the apartheid regime.

South Africa and Norway have sought to deepen co-operation in areas such as the maritime sector, alternative and renewable energy, environmental protection, science and technology and skills development.

On 22 March State Secretary Marianne Hagen addressed a business seminar in Johannesburg. She said that Economic diplomacy and promotion of trade and investment are very high on the Norwegian Government's list of priorities and that Norway would like to see more trade and investment both ways. Norway has become a prosperous country, she said, not despite being an open economy, but because it is open to trade and investments.

Secretary-General Hagen saw the new South African Government under the leadership of President Ramaphosa who has made economic growth and investment a top priority, as a positive. "The South African government's intention of signing of 27 agreements with private renewable energy providers is a good example of the way this agenda is moving forward. Even though these agreements are currently being challenged in court, I am convinced that renewable energy has a great future in South Africa," she said.

Norway is one of the bluest economies in the world. "We have harvested resources from the ocean for more than 1000 years. These resources have been the basis of extensive trade for hundreds of years. First fish and shipping. Then, 50 years ago, oil was discovered on the Norwegian continental shelf.

"Meanwhile, South Africa and Norway already have extensive cooperation in the Blue Economy. We have recently signed a research cooperation agreement – Sanocean – in this field. Both countries will provide funding for research in this area of common interest. We are also cooperating with the Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy at the Nelson Mandela University. And we are financing a feasibility study on how to combat marine waste, which is being carried out by a South African partner. Marine waste is a serious problem – but it also represents business opportunities for both countries," she said.

In 2017, bilateral trade between South Africa and Norway stood at more than R3-billion, with a trade balance in South Africa’s favour.

Secretary-General Hagen said that she is always happy to promote trade and investment and hoped for even stronger economic relations between South Africa and Norway.





February/March 2020








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