SA-Spain strengthen relations

Thursday, October 27, 2022

South Africa and Spain have reaffirmed the bonds of friendship and solidarity that exist between them.

“We have just concluded a very successful engagement, where we exchanged views on how to consolidate and deepen the bilateral relations between our two countries.
“I am pleased to indicate that we held in-depth discussions on deepening trade and investment between South Africa and the Kingdom of Spain,” President Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

President Ramaphosa was speaking during a media briefing at the Union Buildings where he hosted his Spanish Counterpart President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón and his delegation.

The two countries signed three Memoranda of Understating (MOUs) including in the area of sport and library services.  

Trade relations

Ahead of the Spain-South Africa business forum, President Ramaphosa said that South Africa is greatly encouraged by Spain’s interest and investment in sectors that are key to the development and growth of the economy.
“It is only through collaboration, foreign direct investment and growing trade that we can overcome poverty, inequality and unemployment,” he said.
South Africa and Spain are the two largest exporters of citrus fruit globally.
During their discussions, President Ramaphosa and President Sánchez agreed that a solution is needed regarding the new regulations imposed by the bloc on South African citrus fruit imports, and assured that there was a commitment to address the matter and find solutions.
“Through a process of rural development, land reform and enlarging the role of youth and women in agriculture, more producers will enter the agricultural space and we have seen this with more black citrus farmers entering this space as well.
“We would like to see them grow and gain access to key markets like Spain and the rest of the EU,” the President said.

The President highlighted that the Kingdom of Spain has played an important role in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting COVAX with funding and vaccine donations, donating more than 20 million vaccine doses to African countries, and providing financial support to the Global Fund, among other efforts.
The two Heads of State also had an opportunity to discuss issues of regional and international importance.
South Africa and Spain are fully committed to preserving and strengthening the rules-based multilateral system as the primary instrument for the resolution of conflicts and other global challenges.
“We pledged to work together to achieve a prosperous, secure and peaceful future for those areas on our respective continents facing conflict and instability,” he said.

Climate change 

With less than a month to go before the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), the Heads of State discussed avenues for collaboration as part of the global response to combat climate change.
President Ramaphosa said that South Africa and Spain agree that climate change, the loss of biological diversity and other environmental challenges must be addressed within the context of sustainable development.
“An important part of our collective response to climate change is increased support for green, sustainable energy policies and technologies. Several Spanish companies are active in the renewable energy sector in South Africa and we want to see such investments expanded.
“We welcome Spain’s interest in collaborating on our national effort to achieve a just transition to a low-carbon, climate change resilient economy and society.”
He added that government looks forward to continued engagement that will benefit the peoples of Spain and South Africa.


President Ramaphosa also used the occasion to call on countries that have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to lift them so that the economy of Zimbabwe can get back on its feet.

“We call on various countries that have applied sanctions on Zimbabwe to lift those sanctions so that the economy of Zimbabwe can get back on its feet and be the economy [that it] used to be.  In that way people who have left Zimbabwe will find great incentive to go back and live normal lives in their country.”

He said sanctions that have been applied by various countries on Zimbabwe are having a negative impact not only on Zimbabwe’s economy but also on a number of countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

“The sanctions are also having a negative impact on South Africa because as the sanctions weaken the Zimbabwean economy, Zimbabweans intend to migrate and come to South Africa and other countries in the South region.

“This exerts enormous pressure on us. South Africa is very open to the inflow of people from various parts of the continent but with economic challenges of unemployment and inequality that our people are now facing, the pressure becomes even greater,” the President said.

President Ramaphosa said that he is concerned that countries that continue to apply sanctions are disinterested about the impact this has on countries that are receiving migrants.

“We are saying those sanctions should be lifted so that we are able to bolster the economies of those countries so that people can have less of an incentive to leave their countries to go to other countries,” the President said. –