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PRESENTATION BY AMB D VENTER, CHIEF DIRECTOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN SA-CUBA RELATIONS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION 14 AUGUST2013. HISTORICAL CONTEXT.

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PRESENTATION BY AMB D VENTER, CHIEF DIRECTOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEANSA-CUBA RELATIONSPORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION14 AUGUST2013

historical context
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • The bilateral, political and multilateral relations between South Africa and Cuba are excellent, underpinned by historical ties forged in the common struggle against apartheid, colonisation and repression.
  • South Africa-Cuba relations were established long ago between the then liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC) and the government and Communist Party of Cuba. The pre-1994 support given for the liberation of SA included the education of South African students, international, military, political and material support. Many South Africans also carried Cuban passports to facilitate international travel. Cuba has, therefore, been the backbone of the South African liberation despite its own many challenges.
  • After 1994, Cuba was one of the first to offer material and human resource support. The success of South Africa’s political bilateral and multilateral relations could, therefore, be measured in the extent of the numerous development programmes, co-operation projects as well as the strong political and social solidarity and support that exist between our two countries and peoples. It thus is critical that these relations be supported in whatever way possible, especially because South Africa’s population still benefits from the SA-Cuba relations.
bilateral relations
BILATERAL RELATIONS
  • Since 1994 many high level interactions have taken place.
  • The State Visit to Cuba of President Jacob Zuma on 5 to 8 December 2010 was a major development and served to further enhance the excellent relations between our country and Cuba.
  • Cuba is a key partner to focus on in enhancing foreign policy objectives in pursuit of our identified domestic priorities. As a result, South Africa’s bilateral relations with Cuba are aligned to several key strategic priorities.
  • Various bilateral agreements in the fields of science and technology, health, trade and industry, arts and culture, education, minerals and energy, transport, human settlements, defense and home affairs are in place.
  • South Africa is a beneficiary of Cuba’s on-going assistance in the form of scholarships for our youth. There are currently close to 1400 South African students studying medicine in Cuban universities. A total of 323 South African graduates from the Cuba programme work as medical doctors in various South African hospitals.
bilateral relations continued
BILATERAL RELATIONS CONTINUED
  • In 2012 the South Africa – Cuba Extended Cooperation Agreement in the fields of health and medical sciences was signed which will lead to an increase of SA medical students studying in Cuba and thereby contributing to the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI)
bilateral relations continued1
BILATERAL RELATIONS - CONTINUED
  • There is also a considerable number of Cuban medical doctors, engineers and academic staff currently giving their services in the deepest rural areas of South Africa.
  • On the bilateral economic front, it is worth noting that in the past few years, authorities of both countries have increased efforts to enhance bilateral trade and commercial relations to the similar level as the political ones.
  • In 2008 the government of South Africa, working with civil society, pledged humanitarian aid to the government of Cuba in the wake of the severe destruction and damage caused by three successive hurricanes. In its statement announcing the decision, the South African government said “the Cuban government and its people must be commended for the extensive evacuation effort which saved millions of lives”.
  • In 2010 South Africa announced the cancellation of Cuba’s +R1 billion debt that has paved the way for enhanced trade and commercial relations, which could be seized upon by economic actors in the respective countries.
  • In 2012 the agreement on Economic Assistance to Cuba was signed.
bilateral relations continued2
BILATERAL RELATIONS CONTINUED
  • The R350 million economic assistance package comprises of;

- R100 million solidarity grant;

- R40 million grant for the purchase of seeds (R5 million

for the procurement of onion and sunflower seeds in SA

and R35 million for purchases elsewhere);

- R70 million credit line facility under written by the Export

Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) to provide risk

cover to potential SA exporters to Cuba’

- R140 million second tranche of export guarantee under

written by ECIC which will become available based on the

payment of the initial R70 million

bilateral relations continued3
BILATERAL RELATIONS CONTINUED
  • The Assistance package is in a very advanced stage of implementation with the following role players;

- DTI – coordinating

- IDC – State agent

- DIRCO – ARF facilitating the R100 million

- DAFF – seed etc

bilateral relations continued4
BILATERAL RELATIONS - CONTINUED
  • The South Africa Cuba Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC) was established in February 2001 as a co-ordinating forum for the periodic review of bilateral co-operation projects in identified areas of Economic, Scientific, Technical and Commercial Co- operation and the extension of co-operation to new areas. South Africa has placed priority in its Skills Development Programmes and benefited in more than one way from the relationship with Cuba. Currently, several Cuban specialists are deployed in South Africa under the auspices of various government-to-government cooperation projects.
  • The Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) was created in 2000 to enable the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hold regular bilateral and multilateral consultations. Cuba will host the 10th Consultative Mechanism Meeting later this year in Havana and South Africa is looking forward to a successful gathering with a view of reviewing and analysing our strategic partnership.
trade opportunities
TRADE OPPORTUNITIES
  • It is accepted that the Cuban market and limiting logistics have a dampening effect on trade
  • The economic assistance package lays the foundation to further develop trade and commercial activities
  • During recent engagements between the SA Embassy in Havana and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, they have been exploring possible sectors for business opportunities and investments in Cuba
  • Cuban priority sectors include energy, oil, mining and tourism that are not exhaustive. Textile, Aero space, rail and marine can be added
  • Supporting industries and projects such as extending the hospitality (hotel) infrastructure has become important which in turn requires furniture, linen, packaging and related equipment
trade opportunities continued
TRADE OPPORTUNITIES CONTINUED
  • It has also been noted that there are a number of Cuban manufacturers for example rum, beer, pharmaceuticals and agricultural produce that require packaging in order to increase regional and global marketing
  • Mining and construction vehicles
  • SA through the DTI will participate in FIHAV2013 (Havana Trade Fair) in October
conclusion
CONCLUSION
  • Challenges

- In order for the above to succeed it is of utmost importance that government

and business to coordinate efforts in order to grow trade

- Distance (logistics)

- US legislation

  • Opportunities

- Caribbean market (hub)

- skilled artisans

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THANK YOU

BRANCH: AMERICAS AND THE CARIBBEAN

JUNE 2013

DIRCO INTERNAL USE ONLY