South African International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on Monday hosted a high-level Brazilian delegation, led by newly-appointed External Relations Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira who is in Pretoria to strengthen existing relations.
Nkoana-Mashabane and her Brazilian counterpart addressed media in Pretoria after a closed door meeting between the representatives of the two governments.
“We have congratulated the minister [Ferreira] for his appointment. Just a month or two after his appointment, he has spent so much time in our region, it is a political statement that Brazilians are the friends that we can depend on, that are seeing the future of the Africa we want, an Africa that is on the rise,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.
“We both, during our meeting, reaffirmed our strategic partnership that is between our two countries. Indeed when we meet at multilateral forums, half the time Brazilians and South Africans are discussing issues that are international. So we have reaffirmed that we will be talking about how we continue to think globally and act locally.”
Nkoana-Mashabane said the meetings held on Monday morning had been productive.
“All I want to say is that we had a productive morning, in very conducive, friendly partnership kind of an atmosphere. But we want to put more meaning to our bilateral engagements,” she said, welcoming the Brazilian delegation to Pretoria.
Addressing journalists through an interpreter, Ferreira said his maiden visit to Africa, in his tenure as a foreign minister, was an opportunity to continue with the ongoing cooperation between Brazil and African states, particularly South Africa.
“The most significant aspect of this visit, and of our meeting, is the reaffirmation of Brazil’s relations with Africa and South Africa. This reaffirms that Africa continues to be a priority in our international relations.
“Minister Nkoana-Mashabane is correct when she lists the number of multilateral stances in which Brazil and South Africa jointly participate and share a common, like-minded opinion. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue our efforts so that the bilateral relations remain intense and fertile,” said Ferreira.
“South Africa is Brazil’s main trade partner in the African continent. In 2015 there was a slight drop in our international trade which was a result of complex series of economic difficulties which Brazil was going through, but we are slowly rebuilding.”
Ferreira said South African companies were making significant investments in Brazilian sectors including mining, and recently South African enterprises had won a tender to renovate a major airport in Brazil.
He said on a longer term analysis, trade between Pretoria and Brasilia has been strengthened in leaps and bounds.
South Africa and Brazil established diplomatic relations in 1948 and have, since then, concluded many cooperation agreements.
South Africa has historically been a net importer of goods from Brazil. South African exports to Brazil in 2016 accounted for US$ 336 million, while Brazilian exports to South Africa totalled US$ 1.4 billion.
During 2016, a total of 38,814 Brazilians visited South Africa. In 2015, the total was 29,339, which marks a 32.3 percent increase in arrivals from Brazil, according to figures provided by the South African government.
– African News Agency (ANA)