President Ramaphosa to host Belgian Monarch on State Visit

Friday, March 17, 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa will host a State Visit by His Majesty Prince Philippe and Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Kingdom of Belgium from 22 to 27 March in Pretoria.

In a statement on Friday, The Presidency said that the visit, which is the first to South Africa by the Belgian monarchy – is a demonstration of the strong bilateral relations that exist between the two countries.

“The State Visit will serve to expand and strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and revitalise economic relations with a focus on trade, foreign direct investment, and tourism.

“South Africa and Belgium are also pursuing cooperation in renewable energy and in particular, green hydrogen.

“Belgium is one of South Africa’s most important economic partners and many of South Africa’s exports enter Europe through the Port of Antwerp, which is the second largest in the European Union,” the Presidency said.

South Africa enjoys a healthy trade surplus with Belgium with organic chemicals as the key export, followed closely by diamonds and motor vehicles. Belgian companies are also significant investors in the South African economy.

The Presidency added that Belgium is traditionally among the ten major sources of international tourists to South Africa.

Relations between South Africa and Belgium are managed through a Joint Commission that meets at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers.

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Alvin Botes, hosted the Fourth Meeting of the South Africa – Belgium Joint Commission in Pretoria on 8 November 2022.

“King Philippe’s delegation will comprise political, economic, and academic leadership, including the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hadja Lahbib, as well as the Ministers-President and representatives of the five regions of Belgium.

“The programme of the monarchs will include official engagements with President Ramaphosa and members of government as well as visits to Johannesburg and Cape Town where they will engage with academia, business, and civil society, and visit historical and cultural sites,” the Presidency said. –