Belgium's foreign minister visits SA
4 July 2012
South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will roll out the red carpet for her visiting Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders, on Wednesday.
According to the Department of International Relations, Nkoana-Mashabane and Reynders will hold talks looking at how Belgium can support South Africa's national priorities and infrastructure development, as well as help enhance the African agenda.
"Bilateral relations between South Africa and Belgium are strong and continue to strengthen despite the current economic challenges facing Europe," the department said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Belgium is a reliable supporter of South Africa's reconstruction and development efforts."
In recent years, Belgium has allocated R25-million as official development assistance (ODA) to South Africa for health, education and capacity building in the public sector.
The two countries also share tight economic relations. Belgium is South Africa's 13th biggest global trading partner, with total exports from South Africa to Belgium amounting to R14.6-billion and total imports to R9.1-billion in 2011, giving South Africa a positive trade balance.
Belgium ranks sixth in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Africa, focusing on the mining, green energy, ports, logistics and agriculture sectors.
There is also extensive cooperation between the ports of Durban and Antwerp, as Belgium is a leading country in ports management, transport and logistics.
Given Belgium's historic relations with and continued involvement in Africa's Great Lakes Region, the two ministers will also exchange views on developments in the DRC and Burundi.
During his two-day visit, Reynders will also meet with Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu before travelling to KwaZulu-Natal for a meeting with Premier Zweli Mkhize.