Vietnam Time

12/30/2018 4:16:36 PM

Vietnam, South Africa aims for USD 2 billion two-way trade value

Talking to The World and Vietnam on the 25-year cooperation relations of Vietnam and South Africa and prospective fields of cooperation in the time to come, Ambassador of South Africa to Vietnam, Mpetjane Kgaogelo Lekgoro says, economics-trade will continue to be the central of cooperation and two sides are committing to increase twoway trade-investment value to USD 2 billion in the next five years.

viet nam nam phi huong toi kim ngach thuong mai 2 ty usd

Ambassador of South Africa to Vietnam, Mpetjane Kgaogelo Lekgoro. Source: VOV

How has the 25-year Vietnam – South Africa bilateral ties been growing, Ambassador?

The South Africa – Vietnam diplomatic relations were established on December 22, 1993 in New York (US). In the year 2000, Vietnam set up its Embassy in Pretoria and on October 1, 2002, Embassy of South Africa was inaugurated in Hanoi. Even though the year 2018 marked the 25-year milestone of two countries’ relations, our ties were actually formed earlier, since we lended each other supports in the resistent wars for national liberation.

In over the past two decades, there have been many visits of leaders of two countries, numerous legal documents and cooperation deals in different fields were inked. The Vietnam - South Africa Intergovernmental Partnership in Economics, Trade, Technology and Culture Forum was launched in 2004, aiming to promote cooperation in fields of mutual interest. 

Besides having positive political relations, the two countries' economic and trade relations also experience constant growth every year in many potential cooperation areas. South Africa is currently a major mineral exporter to Vietnam, supporting the mining industry and serving the industrialization and modernization of Vietnam.

Will 2019 be an outstandingly eventful year in two countries' bilateral ties?

The income of the people of Vietnam and South Africa have been increased constantly, and it is one of the factors lifting up domestic consumption as well as goods exchange between the two countries in the future. The two countries are also strengthening cooperation in the areas of crime prevention, education, tourism, etc.

Next year, South Africa will host the 4th Vietnam - South Africa Partnership Forum chaired by Deputy Minister of International Cooperation and Foreign Affairs, Mhaule. The forum will review bilateral relations and identify prioritized areas of cooperation which benefit both countries.

In your opinion, which area of cooperation should the two sides focus on to push forward bilateral ties?

In many high-level exchanges, the two countries' leaders have reached concensus on fostering economic ties. Two sides will strive for hit the twoway trade value of USD 2 billion.

Currently, South Africa is Vietnam's largest trading partner in Africa and Vietnam is South Africa's third largest partner in the ASEAN region. Last year, Vietnam and South Africa's trade turnover was more than USD 1.3 billion and by September 2018, this figure was USD 898 million, despite geographical distance and language, cultural difference.

In my opinion, tourism will be one of the potential areas that the two countries can focus on exploiting in the near future. South Africa is a beautiful country which attracts more than 10 million tourists annually. The majority of the tourists come from Africa, Europe, America and North Asian countries.

Therefore, one of the mission of the Embassy is to increase the number of tourists from Vietnam market. If in the past, the number of tourists from Vietnam who knew about and came to South Africa was modest, nowadays there are thousands of Vietnamese tourists traveling to South Africa every year.

viet nam nam phi huong toi kim ngach thuong mai 2 ty usd

Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and Vice President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa in a meeting in October 2016. Source: VNA

2018 is a special year, as the two countries celebrate the 25th-anniversary of diplomatic relations establishment. Could you share some remarkable activities conducted by the South African Embassy in Vietnam this year?

In 2018, the South African Embassy in Vietnam celebrated not only the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries but also organized various events to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Many exciting activities aimed at strengthening understanding, cooperation between the two countries was also organized throughout the year. In March 2018, we organized a conference to promote South Africa tourism. In June, there was a South African wine introduction event. On July 24, the South African Embassy in Hanoi organized a blood donation to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day and his 100th birthday.

On August 17, on the occasion of the Day of Southern African Development Community, the Embassies of Angola, South Africa and Mozambique in Vietnam coordinated with the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) to hold a seminar themed "Development of small, medium and micro enterprises".

One of the remarkable events in 2018 contributes to promoting economic and trade relations between the two countries is a series of seminars "Vietnam - South Africa - Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion" in 2 cities Nha Trang (September 27), Hue (December 4). These events were organized by the South African Embassy in Vietnam in collaboration with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Through the seminar series, the potentials and opportunities in investment and trade of South Africa in the fields of manufacturing, mining, agriculture, retail, financial services, telecommunications and tourism were introduced to Vietnam.

On December 12, the 25th anniversary celebration of Vietnam - South Africa diplomatic relations held by the Embassy was strongly impressive, with the introduction of the two countries' culture via music.

In the coming time, the South African Embassy in Vietnam will certainly continue to work closely with the Government and people of Vietnam to further foster the relationship between the two sides./.

  ( Translated by Phi Yen )
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