Nkoana-Mashabane to host Hillary Clinton

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will on Friday host United States (US) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton for bilateral discussions. 

Secretary Rodham-Clinton's four-day visit to the country, which kicks-off on Thursday, will be the first such visit to South Africa, since her appointment as Secretary of State in January 2009. It will form part o her tour to seven countries on the African continent. 

Her visit to Kenya, South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Liberia and Cape Verde will be used to highlight US President Barrack Obama's commitment to the continent.

Ms Rodham-Clinton will begin her seven-nation trip to Africa on 5 August at the 8th US-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (known as the AGOA Forum) in Nairobi, Kenya.

"The discussions between the minister and her US counterpart will take place within the context of consolidating the already sound bilateral relationship between the two countries with a particular view of establishing high-level diplomatic contact between South Africa and the US," the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on Tuesday, of the South African leg of the visit.

Other issues on the agenda include establishing a structured Bilateral Mechanism aimed at regulating existing bilateral, political and economic relations between the two countries.

The minister and Secretary Rodham-Clinton will also discuss the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the support for the Consolidation of the African Agenda.

According to the department, collaboration in the fight against communicable diseases, including tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS will also be on the agenda.

"Strengthening educational, scientific and cultural cooperation as well as South Africa's Trade relationship with the USA will be discussed," the department said.

The trade and investment relationship between the two countries has significantly increased resulting in total trade approaching almost R100 billion with South Africa enjoying a trade surplus of approximately R20 billion in 2008. 

In addition, South Africa is one of the major beneficiaries under AGOA ranking third after Nigeria and Angola, respectively, with South African exports to the US being the most diversified when compared to other Sub-Saharan African countries' exports. 

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will also host a dinner on Friday within the context of Women's Month, where Secretary Rodham-Clinton will be the Guest of Honour. 

She will pay special attention to the status of women and their role in good governance during this visit. 

While in the country, she will pay a courtesy on Former President Nelson Mandela as well as visit US funded projects in and around Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.