Deputy President Paul Mashatile has arrived in the Republic of Singapore to begin the first leg of his first working visit to Southeast Asia.
The Deputy President began his visit on Sunday with a tour of the Marina Barrage development, Singapore’s innovate water resource management project.
As a resource-poor and water-scarce country, Singapore has invested significantly in research and development of water management and sustainability. Most impressively, the country has made big strides in the area of seawater desalination.
“The Deputy President’s visit to the country is aimed at building and strengthening bilateral relations, particularly increasing trade, economic, knowledge and cultural exchange between the two States,” the Presidency said in a statement.
Singapore is a global financial hub and is considered one of the premier asset management centres in Asia. The World Bank has ranked Singapore as the number one country in the world for ease of doing business since 2006, and the country is an important global aviation and maritime hub.
Singapore is also considered an important gateway for the export of goods and services to Southeast Asia and a hub for joint venture partnerships throughout Asia. It is an important centre for South African businesses looking for opportunities to expand operations on the continent.
As part of his programme, the Presidency said, Mashatile will visit the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and deliver a public lecture on the 30 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Singapore titled “Celebrating a journey of mutual respect, strategic partnership and cooperation.”
The Deputy President is accompanied in Singapore by Deputy Ministers for International Relations and Cooperation, Candith Mashego-Dlamini; Trade, Industry and Competition, Nomalungelo Gina; Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Buti Manamela; Communication and Digital Technologies, Philly Mapulane; Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Magdalene Sotyu, and senior government officials.
Trade and diplomatic links
One of the key areas of collaboration between South Africa and Singapore is trade. Singapore is one of South Africa's largest trading partners in Southeast Asia, with trade between the two countries totalling approximately R28 billion in 2022.
Singapore is a significant investor in South Africa, with investments totalling over R5 billion in sectors such as manufacturing, financial services and real estate.
South Africa's economic relations with Singapore are focused on trade, investment, tourism promotion and skills transfer.
South Africa exports a range of products to Singapore, including gold, diamonds and wine, while Singapore exports electronics, chemicals and machinery to South Africa.
In May this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of the Republic of Singapore for an Official Visit in Cape Town.
Singapore’s visit to South Africa continued the high-level engagement the two governments have fostered since diplomatic relations begun in 1993, ahead of South Africa’s democratic transition.
Since then, the two countries have shared excellent bilateral relations, which have formed the basis of regular high-level visits.
2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Singapore as partners who work together closely in multinational fora.
Singapore, like South Africa, is a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the Commonwealth, as well as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
The two countries have signed numerous agreements to enhance cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, education, and defence.
The May visit was preceded by an official visit undertaken by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, to Singapore in July 2022 to strengthen bilateral relations.
In May, President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Hsien Loong held official talks on cooperation in the areas of communications and digital technology, science and innovation, water and sanitation and skills development.
The leaders discussed the potential for closer collaboration in these areas when they met on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit held in Bali last year.
The visit brought captains of industry from the respective countries to collaborate in sectors ranging from ports, logistics and supply chain, healthcare and biomedical, food manufacturing and engineering. – SAnews.gov.za