President Ramaphosa concludes participation in UNGA78

Thursday, September 21, 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded his working visit to the United States of America, where he led South Africa’s participation in the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) in New York.  

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by a delegation of Ministers, including the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor; Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel; Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy; Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla; Minister in The Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, and Minister in The Presidency for Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, Maropene Ramokgopa. 

The President delivered South Africa’s National Statement on Tuesday under the theme: 'Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all'.

On Wednesday, President Ramaphosa participated in the Financing for Development Summit.

The President joined United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the President of the UN General Assembly, Ambassador Dennis Francis, in advocating for the strengthening and reform of the international financial architecture. 

President Ramaphosa said developing countries must participate equally and meaningfully in the decision-making process of the international economic world order. 

"Four decades since the right to development was established by the United Nations as a human right, the failure to act on commitments to support development is deepening the divide between the global north and south," said President Ramaphosa. 

The President also addressed the Climate Change Summit, hosted by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, where he joined the call by African leaders for action in the implementation of the recently adopted Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action.

The declaration recognises that decarbonising the global economy is an opportunity to contribute to equality and shared prosperity.

President Ramaphosa said that financing for climate action should respect the right of all countries to pursue their own development pathways while taking into account their specific national circumstances.

“As South Africa implements its ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution, which is aligned to the Paris Agreement temperature goals, we see new opportunities for green growth and development.

“With abundant solar and wind resources, with significant reserves of critical minerals, South Africa is positioning itself to be a leader in renewable energy, green hydrogen, and sustainable industrialisation,” the President said. 

The President described South Africa's participation at the UNGA78 as progressive, as it continued to advocate for the reform of the United Nations Security Council and reiterated South Africa’s support for the United Nations Secretary-General's ambition of U$ 500 billion a year to meet the UN-driven global sustainable development goals.

On the sidelines of UNGA78, President Ramaphosa held several bilateral meetings aimed at strengthening strategic political, diplomatic and trade ties.

These included discussions with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu; Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy; President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria; President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Türkiye, and President Emmerson Mnagangwa of the Republic of Zimbabwe. 
Another highlight of the President’s working visit to the United States was the joint announcement by the South African and United States governments of South Africa’s hosting of the 20th US-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, (AGOA Forum) in Johannesburg from 2 - 4 November 2023.

President Ramaphosa welcomed this development as an expression of South Africa's intention to remain part, beyond 2025, of the trade partnership enabled by the United States’ Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. 

This trade relationship carries mutual benefit for South Africa and the United States, as part of the broader cordial and strong relations between the two countries.

In his assessment of UNGA78, President Ramaphosa said: “The United Nations General Assembly is an important and strategic platform for South Africa, where we are able to interact at a high level multilaterally and bilaterally. 

“We have engaged in meaningful discussions that will contribute to the development of our country and our continent. I go home with my spirits lifted and enthused that the challenges we face will be resolved as we continue working with our social partners and business at home, and our trade and diplomatic partners globally." –