Deputy President Paul Mashatile embarked on his maiden working visit to Southeast Asia, commencing in the Republic of Singapore. This historic visit aims to foster stronger bilateral relations between the two nations and explore avenues for heightened trade, economic collaboration, and cultural exchange. The Deputy President’s itinerary includes various significant engagements highlighting the remarkable journey of mutual respect, strategic partnerships, and cooperation between South Africa and Singapore.
South Africa, recognized for its rich resources but grappling with water scarcity, is closely observing Singapore’s pioneering strides in innovative water resource management. The tour kick-started with an insightful visit to Singapore’s Marina Barrage, an emblematic symbol of the country’s commitment to water sustainability and resource management. Singapore’s groundbreaking advancements in seawater desalination serve as a beacon of hope for nations facing similar challenges, presenting viable solutions for resource-poor regions globally.
According to a statement released by the Presidency, the visit aims to fortify bilateral relations between South Africa and Singapore, focusing on augmenting trade ties, fostering economic cooperation, exchanging knowledge, and promoting cultural interactions.
Singapore, a global financial hub and a paramount asset management center in Asia, has maintained its position as the world’s leading country for ease of doing business since 2006, as recognized by the World Bank. This island nation plays a pivotal role as a global aviation and maritime hub and serves as a crucial gateway for South African enterprises seeking expansion opportunities across the Asian continent.
The visit holds particular significance for South African businesses eyeing strategic collaborations and exploring avenues for furthering their operations within Asia. Singapore’s stature as an influential center for export and a thriving hub for joint venture partnerships across various sectors offers immense potential for South African businesses seeking to broaden their horizons.
Deputy President Mashatile’s agenda includes a visit to the esteemed Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, where he is scheduled to deliver a public lecture commemorating the 30 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Singapore. Titled “Celebrating a journey of mutual respect, strategic partnership, and cooperation,” the lecture aims to encapsulate the essence of the enduring bond between the two nations.
The Deputy President is accompanied by a high-profile delegation comprising Deputy Ministers and senior government officials from various sectors, underlining the multifaceted nature of the visit and its significance in strengthening ties across diverse domains.
Trade and investment have been pivotal aspects fostering the synergy between South Africa and Singapore. In 2022 alone, bilateral trade between the nations reached approximately R28 billion, signifying the robust economic rapport they share. Singapore’s investments in key sectors such as manufacturing, financial services, and real estate in South Africa have surpassed R5 billion, highlighting the trust and confidence in the South African market.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s hosting of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earlier this year during an Official Visit in Cape Town marked yet another milestone in the enduring relationship between the two nations. The engagements during this visit further solidified the foundation laid down since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1993.
Both countries, as active members of significant international associations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the Commonwealth, and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), have consistently engaged in meaningful dialogues and signed several agreements to bolster cooperation in trade, investment, education, and defense sectors.
The bilateral discussions between President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Hsien Loong underscored the potential for deeper collaboration in areas such as communications, digital technology, science, innovation, water management, sanitation, and skills development. These deliberations opened avenues for captains of industry from both nations to explore collaborative opportunities across various sectors like logistics, healthcare, food manufacturing, engineering, and more.
The visit serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of both nations to forge ahead with strengthened ties and shared aspirations for growth, prosperity, and sustainable development.