South Africa and the United Kingdom (UK) have committed to continue working together towards strengthening the global international health system.
South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, met with Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the UK, Dominic Raab on Thursday.
The two leaders co-chaired the 12th Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission in the UK.
“The two countries agreed to continue the collaboration, including on genomic sequencing. The Ministers also committed to working together through the G7 and G20 to strengthen the global international health system,” said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in a statement.
The UK and South Africa have both contributed significantly to the global COVID-19 response since the pandemic’s outbreak.
The two Ministers discussed their shared concern for global health security, in particular vaccine access for all.
“South Africa and the UK are alive to the importance of increased vaccine manufacturing capability, including in Africa, and agreed to work together on this priority.
“The Ministers committed to further develop UK-South Africa science and innovation partnerships, in support of both countries’ economic recovery from COVID-19,” said DIRCO.
South Africa and the UK are strategic partners with a broad and vibrant relationship, led by a commitment to liberal values, democracy and the rule of law.
The two countries share a wide array of mutual interests and continue to deepen collaboration to jointly tackle global challenges.
The trade and investment relationship between the UK and South Africa is valued at £8.0 billion per annum.
In addition, the Ministers discussed the opportunity the UK-Southern African Customs Union + Mozambique Economic Partnership Agreement holds to grow this and agreed on a set of actions to capitalise on the freedoms provided by the new bilateral free trade agreement.
They welcomed the establishment of a new UK-South Africa Investment Taskforce that would support the expansion of existing investment and the entry of new UK investors into South Africa.
“In light of the UK’s COP26 Presidency during 2021, climate – in particular the transition to a lower-carbon economy – formed a significant part of discussions. The UK noted that it has contributed over £220m in multilateral funding since 2015 and has added £3.5m bilaterally in support of this transition,” DIRCO said.
The Ministers also discussed their support for rules-based multilateralism and actions that could be taken in support of regional peace, stability and good governance.
The Ministers agreed that the implementation of the commitments, secured through the Joint Commission, would be overseen by Deputy Minister Alvin Botes and the UK’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge.
The Ministers reaffirmed the bonds of friendship and solidarity that exist between South Africa and the UK and looked forward to the next meeting of the Bilateral Forum, to be hosted by South Africa.
Pandor was in the UK to attend the Group of Seven (G7) Foreign and Development Ministerial meeting. The two-day meeting got underway in London on Tuesday. – SAnews.gov.za