Cape Town - An economic support programme, launched during the 2nd South Africa-European Union Summit, aims to assist the economic sector departments of the South African Government.
The European Commission (EC) and the United Kingdom's (UK) Department for International Development (DFID) on Friday allocated about R1.3 billion for the Economic Support and Employment Creation Programme in South Africa.
Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said the programme will help the South African Government increase the technical capacity of the Economic Cluster Secretariat.
"It will support the implementation of the Programme of Action and Framework Response to the international economic crisis, by enabling better planning and co-ordination across departments of the three clusters," he said.
Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel highlighted that amidst the present economic climate, the programme will be critical in accelerating the implementation of government's Programme of Action to deal with South Africa's socio-economic challenges.
EU's Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Karel De Gucht praised the co-ordinated action of the EC and UK as a good example of harmonisation and alignment with government priorities that would, hopefully, guarantee maximum effectiveness of the assistance.
"Our relationship with South Africa is about improving peoples' lives with this new partnership we continue to build on our already extensive co-operation and trust that our commitment will go some way towards strengthening South Africa in its pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals," said De Gucht.
Head of DFID Southern Africa, Helen Mealins said with the global economic downturn, the launch of the programme is a timely initiative to help create jobs and propose innovative ways for reducing unemployment.
"With South Africa being a key driver of economic growth in Southern Africa, the programme will contribute to a better quality of life for people in South Africa and the region," Mealins said.