Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during Official Talks with President Pedro Sánchez on the occasion of the Official Visit by Spain, Union Buildings, Tshwane, 27 October 2022
Your Excellency President Pedro Sánchez,
Ambassador Robredo Raimundo Rubio,
Ambassador Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele,
Senior Members of the Spanish and South African delegations,
Allow me to begin by thanking you, Your Excellency, for honouring our invitation to visit South Africa.
Your visit is a clear sign that relations between South Africa and the Kingdom of Spain are growing from strength to strength.
South Africa greatly values its friendship with Spain and we have a shared conviction on the strategic importance and relevance of our relationship.
Despite the restrictions placed on us by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to have regular bilateral consultations between our two countries.
The Bilateral Consultations are now a well-established mechanism for deepening cooperation between South Africa and Spain.
Our two countries cooperate in several key sectors that are important to the development of our respective nations.
This includes cooperation in the areas of education, science and technology, defence, arts and culture, and sports.
We therefore look forwards to signing several Memoranda of Understanding as part of this visit, namely in the fields of sports, library services and Industry 4.0.
There is also significant collaboration between our two countries on issues pertaining to human rights and around women, peace and security.
Our bilateral relations are underpinned by trade and investment promotion and facilitation.
I look forward to today’s discussions around deepening reciprocal trade and investment, and on issues that are impacting the trade relationship.
South Africa is implementing an Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to drive economic growth and job creation.
Agriculture is one of the catalytic sectors identified under the plan, and we look forward to engaging with Spain on several important issues that are affecting our agricultural exports into the European Union.
Our goal is to reach mutually acceptable solutions that are underpinned by the principles of fairness and transparency.
Today’s discussions provide us with an opportunity to exchange views on some of the shifting global dynamics and how we can work together to address global challenges.
As the countries of the world, we are left with just eight years in which we must meet the Sustainable Development Goals outlined in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As we approach this date, we need to accelerate our efforts and strengthen our resolve.
At a national level, South Africa is guided by its National Development Plan 2030.
This is our blueprint for achieving a better, more equal and prosperous society that leaves no-one behind.
South Africa will continue to engage on Spain’s Focus Africa 2023 plan and the specific cooperation programmes to foster peace, stability and sustainable development across the continent of Africa.
The impact of COVID-19 on lives, livelihoods and national economies has made it even more urgent for us to overcome poverty, inequality, unemployment and underdevelopment.
I wish to thank you for supporting the proposal by South Africa and India to the World Trade Organisation for a temporary waiver of the TRIPS Agreement to enable equitable access to vaccines and other critical medical supplies.
The Kingdom of Spain has played an important role in the global response to the pandemic, supporting COVAX with funding and vaccine donations, donating more than 20 million vaccine doses to African countries, and providing financial support to the Global Fund, among other efforts.
We cannot afford to lose momentum as the international community in the fight against climate change, the most pressing issue of our time.
Amidst these serious challenges, multilateral cooperation is paramount.
South Africa will continue to advocate for rules-based multilateralism to be at the centre of global efforts to deal with our common challenges.
This is particularly the case when it comes to conflicts between and within countries.
South Africa will continue to emphasise the importance of UN-led mediation efforts towards ending all forms of conflict.
It has always been our view that peace and security create more favourable conditions to pursue economic and sustainable development.
As I conclude Mr President, allow me once again to welcome you to our beautiful country.
I look forward to continuing our constructive engagement on issues of mutual interest.
I now invite you, Mr President, to make your opening remarks.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency