SA championed the voice of the African continent at UNGA, says Cabinet

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Cabinet has widely welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address during the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held in New York, USA. 

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said South Africa championed the voice of the African continent and the global South in the United Nations and broader multilateral system.

“The President emphasised the need for developing countries to participate equally and meaningfully in the decision-making process of the international economic world order,” Ntshavheni said.

She was addressing the media during a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday.

With regard to the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration on Climate Change and Call to Action, President Ramaphosa called on partners from wealthy countries to meet their climate financial commitments to tackle global warming in developing countries. 

Ntshavheni said South Africa remains committed to addressing climate change and has positioned itself as a leader in renewable energy, green hydrogen, and sustainable industrialisation.

South Africa also advocated for the resolution of conflicts grounded by the UN Charter’s principle of respect for the territorial integrity of every country, which promotes meaningful dialogue. 

“Furthermore, the reform of the UN Security Council will enable the body to respond more effectively to current geopolitical realities,” she said. 

In his capacity as the AU Champion, President Ramaphosa addressed the Advancing Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Summit.

On the sidelines of UNGA, President Ramaphosa led a government delegation which undertook several bilateral meetings aimed at strengthening strategic political, diplomatic and trade ties. 

President Ramaphosa met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss progress on the African Peace Initiative undertaken in June, which includes prisoner exchange and return of children taken from Ukraine.

In advancing bilateral relations, the President met with the President of Nigeria Bola Tinubu; President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of Algeria; President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Türkiye, and President Emmerson Mnagangwa of Zimbabwe.

“Another highlight was the US-SA Trade and Investment Business Roundtable, which preceded the 20th US-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, (AGOA Forum) which will be in Johannesburg from 2 to 4 November 2023.

“The Forum supports growth through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that covers 54 countries and 1.4 billion people.

“The forum will also feature the ‘Made in Africa Exhibition’ that will showcase regional value chains on the continent,” Ntshavheni said. 

Cabinet emphasised that collaboration between Novo Nordisk and Aspen - forged on the margins of UNGA - will significantly enhance access to insulin treatment not just in South Africa, but also across the continent. 

The collaboration aims to supply over 16 million doses in 2024, which will be up scaled by 2026.

“The production of insulin will utilise Aspen’s facilities in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, including infrastructure used for COVID-19 vaccine manufacture.

“Production on the African continent will reduce the growing pharmaceutical trade deficit in both SA and the continent, where currently Africa imports 99 percent of its vaccines and around 80 percent of its pharmaceutical requirements,” Ntshavheni said. –