19 September 2022
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met with President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa to address opportunities to deepen our relationship, identify next steps on issues of mutual importance, and discuss regional and global challenges.
Together they discussed progress on several of the topics outlined during their initial call in April, including trade and investment and climate and energy. To this end, President Biden announced the creation of a South Africa-U.S. Investment Advisory Task Force and a planned $45 million investment toward the Just Energy Transition Partnership.
The two leaders also committed to addressing several of the world’s most urgent challenges over which we both share concern, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its negative consequences for food security in Africa. The meeting reaffirmed the value of our longstanding partnership, and underscored South Africa’s influential voice in global affairs.
In his welcome remarks President Biden said, it’s great to have you here as I — we were talking before you came in about how magnificent I think your country is. I spent some time in my campaign, which lasted for years, against apartheid to visit your country. And it’s magnificent.
And, you know, it’s an honor to welcome you to the White House. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. The United States and South Africa and your government have the same value set.
And, you know, I’ve long been inspired by the long struggle of freedom and justice. And one of the great moments of my career was when — the first time Nelson Mandela came to the United States. And we — we were in — I was a senator at the time, and we met in the Senate Foreign Relations executive committee room.
And he came in, and we all stood there and said hello to him and the like. And afterwards, he asked me to come by my office. And he came by to say thank you, because he heard I had been stopped trying to get to — to visit him, to see him in prison.
And I had said once — I said I got arrested. I wasn’t arrested; I got stopped.
In his remarks President Ramaphosa thanked President Biden for welcoming him and his delegation to the White House. It’s always a joy to meet you and to exchange views and thoughts with you.
We are really delighted that we can come on a working visit to meet you. There are a whole host of issues we would like to discuss.
And, of course, our relations really are historic. They date from far back. The United States is an important partner to South Africa from a trade and investment point of view.
As you correctly say, you’ve got 600 or so companies that invest and operate in South Africa. And a number of them are already making huge investments, and we’ll be meeting some of them. And we really welcome the opportunity to be here so that we can extend those relations and we can get more companies to invest in South Africa to create jobs.
We’re also here to say thank you for the support that the United States gave to South Africa and to the African continent with regards to fighting COVID-19, the vaccines that you made available, as well as the support that you gave us when we were advocating for a TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organization, and we are grateful for that.
But we also want to cover a number of areas related to COVID-19 and the vaccines, particularly to finish the negotiations with regard to therapeutics and diagnostics, which — the matter is due for finalization before the end of the year.
And of course, we want to discuss what I would call global stability and security, particularly in relation to our region where we’ve had insurgents targeting one of our neighboring countries, Mozambique said President Ramaphosa
Photo Credit: Dirco