SA, Sweden to build on their strong ties

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cape Town - South Africa and Sweden are to engage this week on ways to further strengthen their robust political and economic ties.

President Jacob Zuma will host the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt with a view to strengthen the North-South dialogue in support of the African Agenda.

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, key topics for discussion will include bilateral political, economic and trade relations.

Cooperation on climate change and the environment as well as South Africa's regional role for the promotion of democracy, peace, security and respect for human rights on the African continent will also be discussed.

The meeting comes ahead of the South Africa and the European Union summit on Friday, which is also set to strengthen relations and address shared bilateral, regional and global interests.

South Africa and Sweden enjoy cordial relations characterised by regular high-level dialogue, diverse bilateral development cooperation programmes and growing economic ties, coupled with sound relations at a multilateral level, including the UN Security Council.

Historically, Sweden and other Nordic countries' support of South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle was crucial and covered the entire political spectrum, including support for grass roots organisation.

Sweden strongly supported the struggle for democracy in South Africa during the apartheid period leading to the inauguration of the South African - Swedish Bi-national Commission in September 2000.

South African exports to Sweden include mineral products, wood products, machinery and mechanical appliances.

Import products (from Sweden to SA) include electrical equipment, chemical products, wood pulp, textiles as well as machinery.

According to official data, South African exports to Sweden have increased from R1.046 billion in 2000 to R3.412 billion in 2008 while imports from Sweden increased from R2.902 billion in 2000 to R13.432 billion in 2008.