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State Visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

President Cyril Ramaphosa will, at the invitation of His Majesty, King Charles III, conduct a State Visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) from 22 to 23 November 2022.

Royal State Visits are the highest honor bestowed on a country by the United Kingdom in the furtherance of bilateral relations and as a symbol of respect and of the importance the UK ascribes to its relations with a particular country.

President Ramaphosa is the first Head of State to be hosted for a State Visit by His Majesty Charles III. Since 1994, bilateral relations between South Africa and the UK have grown into a strategic developmental partnership, as reflected in substantial bilateral trade.

Politically, the countries have over the years frequently collaborated in various multilateral organisations to advance shared ideals and objectives, including in the G20 and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The visit provides an opportunity for South Africa and the UK to identify new areas of collaboration in advancing economic recovery and stability and reaffirming the solid foundation between the two countries.

This is the first meeting at this level after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and comes at a time when the economies of many countries, including South Africa and the UK, are affected by the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and by the consequences of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

During the visit, President Ramaphosa will also hold official talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to review a range of issues of a bilateral, continental and global nature.

Key sectors under consideration for mutual benefit and to support economic growth and development in South Africa include infrastructure development, mining, energy, manufacturing, agro-processing, business process outsourcing and tourism.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and the UK are managed through the Bilateral Forum, which was established in 1997. The forum meets biennially at the foreign ministerial level. The most recent meeting was the 12th Session, which was held on the side-lines of the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in May 2021 in the United Kingdom.

In 2021, the UK was the 13th most important supplier of South Africa’s imports and the 5th largest exports destination of South Africa’s products globally after China, USA, Germany and Japan. In 2021, South Africa was the 17th largest supplier of United Kingdom’s imports globally and the first largest supplier of United Kingdom’s imports from Africa.

In 2021, South Africa was the 34th exports destination for United Kingdom’s exports globally and the 1st exports destination for United Kingdom’s exports to Africa.
Bilateral trade reached the highest peak in 2021 for the ten-year period under review, at R148.4 billion, after falling from R138.6 billion in 2018 to R79.2 billion in 2019.

Bilateral trade recovered by 21.8% to R96.5 billion in 2020 from 2019 amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Bilateral Trade between South Africa and the United Kingdom increased during the two years of 2020 and 2021.

The overall objective of the visit for both South Africa and the United Kingdom is to create new impetus in the strengthening of the historically deep and strong bilateral relationship, by elaborating on existing cooperation projects and identifying new areas of cooperation. 

To achieve this, the following overarching themes have been identified to guide the substantive engagements of the visit:
➢ Trade, Investment and Inclusive Economic Growth (including infrastructure investment)
➢ Climate Change and Energy
➢ Health
➢ Education and Skills Development
➢ Science and Innovation.
 
Memorandums of Understanding on Cooperation in Science and Innovation and also on Health Cooperation will be signed during the State Visit
The UK is South Africa’s number one source of long-haul tourism in the world, a position it has not relinquished for the past 19 years. UK tourists to South Africa have a very high repeat visitor rate and 67% of visitors who have been to South Africa return for a second visit.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and the UK remain strong covering a range of areas of cooperation linked to both Governments’ priorities.  

The President will be accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Trade and Industry and Competition, Health and Higher Education, Science and Innovation.
 
President Ramaphosa's contribution to the advancement agenda of the African continent leading African Union Covid response 
- As AU Chair in 2020, President Ramaphosa led the continental response to the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing a continent-wide strategy, setting up innovative online platforms to provide access for all countries to essential medical supplies, mobilising international funding and securing vaccines.
- The President led the continent’s effort to secure over 500 million COVID vaccine doses for the continent.
- Under the President stewardship the African Pandemic Response Fund was established, to date it has mobilised $137 million for local production of vaccines, diagnostics, personal protective equipment, oxygen and critical medicines.
- The President guided the launch of the Africa Medical Supplies Platform, ensuring sufficient and affordable access for all African countries to vital COVID supplies.
 
Leading the Lesotho electoral reform process
In December 2014, SADC entrusted President Ramaphosa, who was serving as the country’s Deputy President at the time with the task of Facilitator in the Kingdom of Lesotho to assist with the promotion of peace and stability and constitutional reform. The President used his experience of South Africa’s transition to democracy to kick start an inclusive and consultative process.

After his election as President of South Africa, President Ramaphosa, appointed Retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke to lead the Facilitation Team.

With the President’s guidance the Facilitation Team promoted an open and transparent dialogue, to allow the Basotho to express their own views about the Lesotho they want.
The National Dialogue that followed established the National Reforms Authority which presented the Draft Eleventh Constitutional Amendment Act – the Omnibus Bill – to the 10th Parliament before its dissolution in July 2022. The reforms contained in the Draft Omnibus Bill have laid a solid foundation for the future of the Basotho.

Recently the people of Lesotho demonstrated their shared determination to restore peace and stability and to forge a just and prosperous future for the Kingdom by holding successful elections on 7 October 2022 that resulted in the election of His Excellency Prime Minister Samuel Matekane.

With the completion of the work of the SADC Facilitation Team, President Ramaphosa is confident that the Government of Lesotho and all stakeholders will give the same support and cooperation to the Oversight Committee that was established by the 42nd SADC Summit to oversee the implementation of the national reforms.  
 
Intervention support to Mozambique
President Ramaphosa remains pleased with the progress being made in pushing back the insurgents in the Cabo Delgado area of the Republic of Mozambique. President Ramaphosa has been a leading voice in ensuring that SADC reaffirms its total commitment to supporting the people of Mozambique. The President has also mobilised international commitment and solidarity by advocating for more resources to aid the government of Mozambique. In several bilateral engagements with the leaders of the developed economy countries the President has consistently placed global support for the resolution of the security situation in Mozambique firmly on the agenda and he will continue to do so during the upcoming talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
 
Other notable contributions
As African Union Chair in 2020, President Ramaphosa championed the adoption of the AU Convention on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls. Recently President Ramaphosa was honoured with an award as part of the AU Circle of Champions for ending violence against women and girls. The award was handed over at the second African Union Men’s Conference on Positive Masculinity, which unfortunately the President could not attend.  In his recorded video message The President expressed South Africa’s unwavering commitment to ending gender-based violence and empowering the women on our continent.  He further called on African Heads of State to put in place mechanisms for the AU Fund on Ending Violence Against Women as one of the priority areas of the Kinshasa Declaration.  
 
DRC
President Ramaphosa remains engaged in ensuring continued support to efforts to restore peace and stability in the Eastern DRC, through South Africa’s contribution to MONUSCO and other diplomatic efforts.

Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic
President Ramaphosa has remained a consistent voice against Morocco’s illegal occupation of the Western Sahara which he has a described as a matter of concern to both Africa and the international community. The President has stated that until the people of Western Sahara are able to exercise their right to self-determination, the decolonisation of Africa will be incomplete.

Advocating for the lifting of sanctions in Zimbabwe
President Ramaphosa continues to be the leading voice calling for the urgent lifting of sanctions that are crippling Zimbabwe and its economy.
 
Guarding Africa’s development interest and advancing the continent’s Trade and Investment agenda
In his visit to the United States in September, President Ramaphosa presented a compelling argument against the proposed “Countering Malign Russian Activities Bill” where he cautioned about the unintended consequences of punishing Africa for efforts to advance development and growth.

The President further highlighted the importance of renewing AGOA as a vital measure to ensure progress made over many years to strengthen trade and investment ties between Africa and the United States.

In all international bilateral and multilateral engagements President Ramaphosa has firmly advanced Africa’s interest by promoting the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which he believes will place the economies of Africa on a new trajectory of development and production. The President has called for partnerships on Africa’s Just Transition in accordance with global equity and national circumstances and enabled through international support. This is a call he reiterated recently at the G20 summit and at COP 27. President Ramaphosa will continue to work tirelessly to promote Africa’s development interest in all multilateral platforms including the BRICS and the G20 which South Africa will chair respectively in 2023 and 2025.

President Ramaphosa believes that South Africa’s own envisaged peace and prosperity for all that leaves no one behind, is inextricably tied to the rest of Africa’s fortunes. Thus the promotion of increased intra Africa trade will remain a key pillar of South Africa’s trade diplomacy within the continent.  
 
COP27 Outcomes
The Conference of Parties (COP 27) outcomes reflect the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to keep the 1.5-degree temperature target alive during what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls the “Critical Decade”, including by providing a clear programme to advance the mitigation agenda from now to 2026.

The key milestone for COP27 was the agreement on financial arrangements to address loss and damage due to climate change. COP27 agreed to set up a Fund on loss and damage. It established a Transitional Committee to work on the modalities of this fund with a view of taking a decision at the next COP28.
 
COP27 also called for increased momentum to reform the Multilateral Development Banks and International Financial Institutions and we expect the shareholders of these institutions to take decisive action to scale-up climate finance in 2023 and make their institutional arrangements fit for purpose.
 
COP27 recognizes the urgency of finding a solution for developing countries for loss and damage caused by climate change and agrees to establish new financing arrangements and a mechanism to address this.
 
There was also agreement amongst Parties to accelerate work on reducing vulnerability of societies due to climate change impacts.  Although South Africa did not see an advancement that it had hoped to achieve on operationalizing the global goal on adaptation. South Africa had called for COP 27 to establish a framework for GGA that contains high level indicators and targets to galvanize collective global action and support.

For example, South Africa sough an agreement on a target to build resilience of global population by 50% in 2030 in developing countries. The outcome on adaptation was disappointing as it emphasized more on building understanding in critical sectors such as health, poverty and livelihoods; Terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems; Oceans and coasts; Water resource management; Food; Cities and settlements; Cultural heritage and Mountain regions and biodiversity.


Media enquires: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President on +27 82 835 6315

Issued by: The Presidency
Pretoria