MINISTER of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon, TD, co-chaired the South Africa-Ireland Partnership Forum in Pretoria, together with his South African counterpart Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Luwellyn Landers.
Minister Cannon said: “We have had wide ranging discussions on political, economic and social developments in our two countries and regions, reaffirming the close ties that underpin the relationship between Ireland and South Africa.”
Minister Cannon spoke of the value of the Forum: “The longstanding friendship between Ireland and South Africa is rooted in the significant and historic relations between our two countries.
“Next year we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ireland and South Africa.
“In the course of our shared history, Ireland has been a staunch supporter of South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, while South Africa in turn has provided invaluable support to the peace process in Northern Ireland.
“Trade, tourism and cultural exchanges between our two countries are strong, and I hope that this landmark event today will further strengthen the many links that connect our two countries.”
Cooperation on trade and investment was emphasised throughout the Forum and particular high potential areas were identified by both sides, including aviation, ICT, financial, data and business services, agri-food and energy.
Minister Cannon also launched the Irish Embassy’s new Five Year Strategy 2017-21, which aims to foster the broad potential of the relationship between Ireland and South Africa. Minister Cannon outlined the importance of the new strategy,
“I am proud to launch Embassy Pretoria’s new Five Year Strategy 2017-2021.
“The strategy demonstrates our ambition to strengthen our relations with South Africa and the region, setting out our commitment to deepen our engagement with the Irish community; to actively support all those who wish to build trade, investment and social connections between Ireland and South Africa; and to work in partnership with South Africa in fighting discrimination and inequality, especially for women and girls.