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Draft Opening remarks

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					                               Keynote Address
                    Deputy Minister Sue Van Der Merwe
            South Africa – European Union Academic Seminar
       Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Belville Campus
                               10 September 2009




Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and thank you Prof Mazwi-Tanga for
your kind introduction. Thank you for hosting this event. We appreciate your
support and your leadership in this regard very much. Also a special welcome
to Mr Karel De Gucht, the EU Commissioner-designate for Development and
Humanitarian Aid

I am delighted to be here today to open this important seminar which forms
part of the preparations for the second South Africa – European Union
Summit to be held tomorrow in Kleinmond. The academic and research
community plays a crucial role in support of South Africa‟s strategic
international partnerships. They do so through such engagements and
exchange of information on domestic, regional, continental and global issues.

Today‟s seminar affords us an opportunity to harness our collective
knowledge as a critical asset, to interrogate strategies for achieving more
synergy in the relationship between South Africa and the European Union,
especially in the important areas of science and environment; and African
peace, security and stability – the two themes for today. I am sure that these
deliberations will add value to our Strategic Partnership with the European
Union and especially to the outcomes of tomorrow‟s Summit.


First I think it is important for us to underscore the value that South Africa
places on our relationship with Europe. Trade and investment figures tell an
important side of the story.


Trade and Investment
Since the implementation of the trade provisions under the SA-EU Trade and
Development      Cooperation     Agreement‟s   (TDCA)   in   2000,    aimed   at
establishing a Free Trade Area (FTA) between South Africa and the EU by
2012, total trade has increased over five-fold, from some R50 billion in 1994
to more than R300 billion in 2007. The EU therefore remains, by far, our
number one export market.


Europe also remains the principal source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in
South Africa, accounting for around 80% of total FDI in 2005. Furthermore, it
is South Africa‟s largest development partner representing approximately 70%
of all Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), with South Africa earmarked
to receive almost €1 billion for 2007-2013. The European Investment Bank
has also approved a loan mandate of € 900 million for South Africa.


This has been remarkable progress in our relationship with a continent whose
member countries contributed so meaningfully to our liberation from
apartheid. The many countries of that continent and indeed ordinary citizens
of Europe who mobilised in their communities in the anti-apartheid movement
will never be forgotten by us.


Since we are here on this lovely spring day in the gorgeous Cape the wine
growing area of the country, it is interesting to note that the top four (4)
destinations for our wines are all from the EU, with just these 4 countries (UK,
Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden) representing a massive 65% of our
total wine exports to the world. (It would seem that all those anti-apartheid
activists also have good taste!!)


So whilst all this progress in trade and investment is crucial in strengthening
this strategic relationship, it is significant that this Partnership has
transcended its initial focus on trade and development cooperation, to one
that is now truly strategic in nature.


We are very honoured that this partnership is the only one of its kind between
the EU and an African country. It is composed of strategic dialogues and


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cooperative arrangements in almost every conceivable area of cooperation.
In fact, the number of strategic policy dialogues in critical areas has more than
doubled since the first SA-EU Summit in France last year.           Dialogues on
Education, Migration, Health, Space, Energy, ICT and Maritime Transport
have been added to the existing dialogues on Science and Technology,
Trade, Development, Environment and Sustainable Development, as well as
on Political and Security issues.


Our government has as you know received a new mandate in April this year.
This mandate focuses on 5 priority areas: Health, Education, Rural
Development, Combating Crime and Decent Jobs…. Our mantra has been „A
BETTER LIFE FOR ALL”.


As Minister Nkoana-Mashabane recently pointed out, and I quote:


       “Our foreign policy – our engagement with our partners all over the
       world – has to respond to these priorities. As practitioners of foreign
       policy, we have a duty to make our contribution to the attainment of
       these priorities by using economic and political cooperation with other
       countries and international organisations towards a better life for all,
       and a better Africa and the world.


In our efforts to address these priorities and to break the desperate poverty
cycle of millions of our people, we recognise that education is one of our key
challenges. We know that we need to invest heavily in our human capital, the
skills and human resource base of the country, to ensure that all of our people
are able to participate in the country we are building, a country that is modern
and internationally competitive, one that is both people centred and
responsive to a changing global reality. This education challenge we are
confronting on many levels; by increasing enrolment rates in secondary
schools, supporting the Further Education and Training sector in the context
of lifelong learning, improving access to higher education, and ensuring
sustainable funding structures for our universities, amongst others.



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Given the historical backlogs in the education sector for the majority of our
population, South Africa has to address this key priority, not only with all the
combined forces of our people and our economy, but also in partnership with
the international community. The Education and Training Policy Dialogue with
the EU is therefore timeous and indeed strategic. This dialogue should
enhance our existing cooperation in this important sector. Among others, it
should foster the mobility of students, researchers and academic staff,
develop and strengthens links between institutions and organisations in the
fields of education and training, strengthen vocational education and training,
and increase non-formal learning opportunities, especially for the youth and
vulnerable groups. Once again Europe has been a key player for us in this
challenge with the combined programmes of the European Commission for
the education sector in South Africa amounting to €127 million so far this year.

Cooperation in science and technology represents a crucial aspect in the
overall strengthening of the human resource and skills base in South Africa.
Since we achieved our freedom 15 years ago, South Africa has made
significant progress in the area of science and technology. According to The
Africa Competitiveness Report 2009, produced by the World Economic
Forum, the African Development Bank and the World Bank, South Africa‟s
scientific capacity is on a par with such innovative countries as Brazil and
India. The report states that "South Africa has high-quality scientific research
institutions,   invests   strongly   in   research   and   development,   and   is
characterised by a significant level of collaboration between business and
universities in research".

To support this, South Africa has been one of the most successful participants
from outside Europe in the EU‟s Framework Programmes for Research.
Under the current 7th Framework Programme alone, €13 million have so far
been awarded to South African organisations for work on projects covering for
example health, food and agriculture, environment, information and
communication technology, space as well science and humanities research.
In addition new S&T cooperation instruments like the COST programme for
short-term scientific exchanges between South Africa and Europe are also



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being launched.       On the role of Science and Technology for poverty
alleviation, South Africa and the EU are currently implementing a €30 million
budget sector support programme.


Another cutting edge project which has the support of the EU is South Africa‟s
bid for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, a project with enormous
potential to shift the frontiers of global knowledge. Already 19 countries and
55 scientific institutions are involved in the SKA project, and the collaboration
and contribution from both the EU and its member states to this globally
important project are significant.


As significant as this progress has been, however, we cannot be complacent.
We need to ensure that this Partnership remains dynamic and responsive to
our domestic, regional and global environments and challenges. This is also
now more important in the context of the current global recession and
assisting to address our collective socio-economic challenges.


Mr Chairman


We believe that the full implementation of the Joint Action Plan under our
Strategic Partnership will make a real difference to the lives of all South
Africans.


Regional Integration


The strength and dynamism of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership has enabled
us to explore new areas of cooperation which complement our national and
regional priorities directly, as well as in Africa generally.


South Africa and the European Union both recognise that deeper regional
integration is one of the essential contributors to development, economic
growth and employment, and ultimately the eradication of poverty. Africa has
adopted socio-economic and political integration as a key development
strategy. The EU has undergone a successful process of integration and can


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usefully share its experience with Africa. In the SADC context - we are looking
to share experiences that the EU has gained in addressing regional
inequalities, in particular through in the implementation of the Structural and
Cohesion Funds.


South Africa, as a key economy in our region, is committed to regional
economic integration. We see this process as central to the realisation of our
domestic goals, and indeed to our broader vision of a united and prosperous
African continent. We know that Africa is our soil, our motherland, we cannot
be divided from it, we are part of it and we can only fully reach our potential if
our continent is peaceful and prosperous. Much work has to be done to
achieve this.


Our continental leaders have committed themselves to 5 Regional blocks, to
be developed as the basis for future African union. Therefore from a SADC
regional perspective, we continue to pay close attention to the regional
integration imperatives, the framework of which is set out in SADC Protocols.
While South Africa negotiated its own specific relationship with the EU (the
TDCA), our neighbouring countries were all part of the Cotonou Partnership
Agreement. In pursuit of a more harmonised relationship between us, our
neighbours and the EU, South Africa became part of the SADC configurations
negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreements. Unfortunately, for
various reasons SADC countries have been divided into no less than four
different EPA configurations, with the result that many contradictions have
arisen in the process. And so the already complicated overlapping customs
union and trade arrangements in our region have been further complicated by
the SADC-EPA negotiations. It is our view that there are solutions to these
problems, and indeed our Minister of Trade and Industry has been very
engaged with these issues in a real attempt to find common ground between
the EU and SADC. I am convinced that a positive outcome is in our mutual
interest for enhanced relations between the EU and SADC, as well as the EU
and Africa.




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Allow me to make a few remarks on some of the issues to be addressed in
your workshops today.


Climate Change


The European Union-South Africa Joint Cooperation Council of senior officials
at its 10th meeting in July in Brussels underlined the overall importance of
climate change and the need for intensified policy dialogue and cooperation in
this area, especially in the run-up to the UN Framework Convention on
Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen (COP15). The
meeting agreed that a dedicated climate change programme in the context of
EU development assistance to South Africa be considered; as well as holding
a climate change workshop in South Africa before December. This illustrates
the importance of climate change and adaptation in the science and
environment arena.


The ability of communities to adapt to climate change is determined by their
level of development, their access to resources and their scientific and
technical capacity. The impacts of climate variability pose serious challenges
for Africa as a continent, where the livelihoods of some of the world's poorest
communities are the most sensitive to climate change. Adaptation can be in a
variety of forms, such as better education, training and awareness of climate
change, as well as more technical measures, such as drought-resistant seeds
and better coastal protection. For many communities, the direction of climate
change remains uncertain, so focus should also be placed on increasing their
adaptive capacity in relation to key sectors, such as agriculture, food security,
and health.


South Africa and the European Union, with our existing capacities, can
together make a significant contribution in this regard, also in the context of
tri-lateral cooperation with third parties or countries.


With its tremendous natural resources and remarkable social and ecological
diversity, the Continent of Africa reflects a close dependency of people on


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natural resources. This dependency has in some ways contributed to some of
the conflicts in the Continent; and may continue to do so in future. The
agenda for your seminar today deals appropriately with both these issues.


However, the last decade has seen real and steady improvements in the
peaceful resolution of conflicts, improved governance at all levels; and
deepening democracy. Yet despite this progress, the adverse effects of
climate change still present real threats to fragile and post-conflict states in
Africa – which the Continent and her partners need to address in the spirit of
global interdependence.


Peace and Stability in Africa


South Africa and the European Union share a common purpose in promoting
peace, security, stability and good governance as prerequisites for
sustainable development. EU assistance to the African Union in establishing
the African Peace and Security Architecture, through their Africa Peace
Facility, has made a significant contribution to strengthening Africa‟s peace
support operations and interventions. However, there are still funding and
logistical challenges to be addressed. Funding needs to be more predictable
and flexible. The AU Peace and Security Council acts on behalf of the UN in
Africa and should be provided with adequate resources to do so. There is also
the need for greater collaboration and coordination between relevant organs
of the UN and the AU to promote collective security and stability. Former
Italian Prime Minister Prodi has led a UN process in this regard which will
assist greatly in dealing with this and associated problems.


A lot of work and effort is being undertaken in this regard. Key mechanisms
under the African Peace and Security Architecture in the structural prevention
of conflicts are the AU Border Management Programme and work on
elections and conflict-prevention. The AU Panel of the Wise is also working on
a report on elections and conflicts, which will be launched soon and will
become a central instrument in the peace and security doctrine for the
Continent. The AU Peace and Security Council is also in the process of


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elaborating a sanctions regime; and it has had a series of constructive
engagements with civil society, think tanks and regional economic
communities to achieve greater synergy. One example is the Livingstone
Formula, which is the outcome of a joint Council and civil society retreat in
Zambia last December. This Formula defines and maps areas for
engagement and collaboration; and may be useful to consider in the context
of EU support to the Continent. Greater effort and more resources are also
needed in post-conflict reconstruction, to ensure adequate support to fragile
and recovering states.


When considering bilateral and trilateral cooperation in peace building,
conflict-resolution and post-conflict reconstruction, it is of crucial importance to
mainstream the role and plight of women. Efforts to eradicate gender-based
violence, to mitigate the differential burdens that women bear during conflict,
and to facilitate women‟s participation in peace building, need our collective
and focused support. The AU Protocol to the African Charter on Human and
People‟s Rights, and its Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development
Framework, are key regional instruments intended to give effect to proper
participation of women in ensuring peace, security and stability in the
Continent. The proposed African Standby Force will play a key role to
promote Africa‟s collective security.


The constructive roles being played by the European Union working together
with South Africa in this area will be further enhanced through our Strategic
Partnership.


South African Development Partnership Agency


South Africa regards this work on conflict prevention and post conflict
reconstruction on the African continent as a critical part of our international
engagement. Over the past 15 years this work has expanded exponentionally
and in many ways defines our African agenda. We have therefore taken a
decision to consolidate this work and the financing of it into an Agency which
will be called the South African Development Partnership Agency. The


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Agency will allow us to coordinate our work on the continent in development in
the broad sense, and we believe will allow us to work with both our continental
and international partners to the greatest effect.


Work on the establishment of the Agency has already begun. The proposed
Agency will be responsible for our international development cooperation and
partnerships. We are currently elaborating an integrated policy framework and
organisational structure for the establishment of the Agency early next year.
The policy framework will also articulate South Africa‟s objectives and
mechanisms for enhanced trilateral cooperation and collaboration with
developed country partners and multilateral development institutions – an
area in which South Africa has gained considerable experience and expertise.
This process will further enhance and strengthen our Strategic Partnership
with the European Union, also in the areas to be elaborated in today‟s
seminar.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Your presence here today signifies a critical dimension to this partnership in
fostering a better understanding of each other‟s points of view on matters of
mutual interest, and each other‟s democratic systems and areas of
responsibility. It is also for this reason that we have, under the Joint Action
Plan, recognized the importance of regular and institutionalised parliamentary
interaction and so we have established an inter-parliamentary dialogue that
now meets twice per year.



While

I would like to thank Higher Education South Africa for taking up our request
to begin a dialogue with your European colleagues on some of the areas that
drive the SA-EU Partnership. As Government, we strongly encourage you to
see this event as the beginning of a more institutionalised and regular
engagement     between     South   African   and     European   academics   and
researchers in support of the wide range of policy dialogues and cooperation


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areas under the Strategic Partnership. I do realise that this is a significant
undertaking in terms of commitment and resources from you all to be here,
but I believe it is a worthwhile investment. Just as European institutions and
individuals took us in during the apartheid years and invested in the cadre of
leadership that we see here today, we could benefit greatly through a
continued effort to provide education and training opportunities for our future
leadership.




Thank you again for the invitation today, and I wish you all of the best with
your deliberations.




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Description: Draft Opening remarks