Opening Remarks by Deputy President Paul Mashatile, during the Official Visit to South Africa by Ms Vo Thi Anh Xuan, Vice President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 15 September 2023

Opening Remarks by Deputy President Paul Mashatile, during the Official Visit to South Africa by Ms Vo Thi Anh Xuan, Vice President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 15 September 2023


Your Excellency, Ms Vo Thi Anh Xuan, Vice President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,

Honourable Ministers,

Senior Officials,

Vice President,


I would like to take this opportunity to extend my utmost gratitude and sincere appreciation to you for graciously accepting and honouring my humble invitation for an Official Visit.


We are delighted to extend a warm and sincere welcome to you and your esteemed delegation to our country, which boasts a diverse and breath-taking natural landscape including stunning coastlines, majestic mountains, captivating semi-deserts, serene lakes, enchanting waterfalls, lush forests, and expansive plains.


This is your first official visit to South Africa, and it is a pleasure to have you here in the year that we are marking 30 years of diplomatic ties. It has been a long and fruitful partnership between our two countries.


There have been many significant interactions between our governments and people over this period; and this Official Visit provides an opportunity for us to deepen the relations between our two countries.


South Africa places great significance on our enduring and robust relationship with Vietnam, valuing it as a steadfast and unwavering friendship and alliance.


Our relations are based on strong historical ties, solidarity and the integral role Vietnam played in the fight against colonialism and racial discrimination.


Since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and Vietnam in December 1993, our bilateral relationship has evolved and strengthened, resulting in a diverse and multifaceted partnership characterised by enhanced collaboration in several domains. This includes rapid progress in people-to-people links and strong government-to-government relations.


As we move forward, it is our sincere hope that these networks, which have already demonstrated their immense potential, will not only maintain their current level of strength and stature, but also experience a significant and continuous growth in the years to come.


Various high-level visits between our countries have further cemented our relationship.


Regrettably, the momentum of these visits was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am pleased that the recent visits to Vietnam by our Minister of Electricity, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation and the Premiers of the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga have further consolidated our bilateral relations in the Energy, Mineral Resources and Higher Education sectors.


South Africa has prioritised new investments as a source of economic growth stimulation with a view to create jobs, and reduce poverty and inequality by promoting investment, improving our competitiveness, and leveraging technology and innovation.


Your presence here highlights the importance that both our countries attach to deepening and broadening our existing bilateral relations, especially in growing our trade and economic ties.


Vietnam is South Africa’s 5th largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Trade between the two countries is sound, and there still exists much potential for enhanced cooperation across a myriad of areas, in particular agricultural and agro-processed products, and coal and minerals.


Total bilateral trade between South Africa and Vietnam in 2022 was valued at R23, 8 billion, with imports from Vietnam valued at R18.5 billion and exports to Vietnam valued at R5, 2 billion.


Your Excellency, Vietnam is an important partner for South Africa, and I look forward to engaging with you and your delegation to on various issue affecting our countries.


While some areas of our bilateral cooperation have so far been characterised by good progress, cooperation in a few other areas has been less fruitful.


In this regard, there remains a large untapped potential for increased bilateral trade between our two countries, particularly in the area of South African exports.


We encourage Vietnam to take advantage of, and the support provided through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement which aims to provide broader and deeper economic integration across the continent as well as attract investment, boost trade, provide better jobs, reduce poverty and increase shared prosperity in Africa.


In addition, we welcome the participation of your Ambassador and that of the Vietnamese delegation, representing your President at the BRICS plus Dialogue meeting on 24 August 2023.


We are jointly required to expedite outstanding market access issues on both sides. Therefore, I am pleased that a Vietnamese business delegation has accompanied you on this visit and I have confidence that the interactions conducted yesterday yielded fruitful outcomes.


I share the belief that there are significant mutual benefits to be gained from the collaboration between our respective regions.


I would like to seize this moment to reiterate our gratitude to the Government of Vietnam for its valuable assistance extended to South Africa in its endeavour to secure the status of a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN, as was approved by the ASEAN Ministers of Foreign Affairs in July this year.


Once again, Your Excellency, I welcome you to South Africa, and I look forward to fruitful and productive discussions that will help to strengthen the ties between our two countries.


I wish to hand over to you Vice President for your opening statement.


Issued by: The Presidency