Local govt important to foreign policy: Nkoana-Mashabane

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says the local government sphere has a vital role to play in the implementation of South Africa's foreign policy.

Addressing an audience comprising representatives of local government, the business sector as well as independent research institutions in East London on Saturday, Nkoana-Mashabane said rapid urbanisation across the world required cities to play a more effective role in the implementation of foreign policy.

Better coordination across the three spheres of government would bring much-needed alignment and synergy when implementing international treaties as well as bilateral agreements signed between South Africa and its diplomatic partners across Africa and the world.

The minister noted that various South African cities have signed bilateral agreements with other cities across the world. She reiterated that the growth and prosperity of the African continent was a key pillar in South Africa's foreign policy.

"South Africa remains committed to working bilaterally with fellow African countries and collectively through SADC and the AU. In this regard, we believe part of the solution lies in strengthening our Pan-African institutions, notably the AU and its Commission; expanding our relations with key countries of the South, especially China, Brazil and India," Nkoana-Mashabane said.

She said South Africa would continue to work towards the consolidation of its traditional relations with countries of the North, as well as with other like-minded countries for the strengthening of multilateralism in the context of globalisation "where no single nation can deal successfully with global challenges on its own".

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