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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim will pay a working visit to the Philippines on September 24 and 25.
The working visit is expected to tackle the expansion and strengthening of relations between the Philippines and South Africa, specifically in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and culture, in line with the economic diplomacy thrust of the DFA.
The South African Deputy Minister’s visit comes as a prelude to the scheduled signing by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario and South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of the Philippines-South Africa Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the Establishment of a Bilateral Consultative Forum (BCF), at the sidelines of the 67th United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York. The BCF will provide an institutional mechanism under which the two countries can meet and discuss prospective avenues of cooperation.
Deputy Minister Ebrahim, who is a member of the African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee, will be received by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Laura Q. Del Rosario.
The Deputy Minister will also meet with officials from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), Philippines-Southern Africa Business Council, and the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
The Deputy Foreign Minister is scheduled to conduct a public lecture entitled “South Africa’s Foreign Policy: A Vision for South-South Cooperation” on September 25, 10:00 a.m., at the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) Faculty Center in UP Diliman.
South Africa is the Philippine’s largest trading partner in the African region, with a total trade volume of $218 million in 2011.
Since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1993, high-level visits between the Philippines and South Africa have been highlighted by the exchange of visits between democratic icons former President Corazon C. Aquino and South African President Nelson Mandela in 1996 and 1997, respectively.
South Africa is a major player in regional and international fora, championing the cause of South-South cooperation, and is one of the world’s most dynamic economies as a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).