24 June 2022
Deputy Minister Alvin Botes met with his Portuguese counterpart, Mr Fransisco André for a Bilateral Consultation in Lisbon, Portugal, 24 June 2022.
South Africa and Portugal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2002 establishing High-Level Political Consultations. The bilateral mechanism is the key vehicle through which relations between the two countries are conducted.
From 2002 to 2017, the #BilateralConsultations were only conducted at the Senior Officials level. During the 5th Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in 2017, both countries agreed to elevate the SOM to Deputy Minister level.
Bilateral trade figures for 2020 and 2021 have been positive, with South African exports for this period surpassing the total exports for 2019. South African exports in 2021 were valued at approximately R2, 8 billion while imports from Portugal recorded approximately R 4, 6 billion in the same year.
The main areas of cooperation that came under review at the Bilateral Consultations included Agriculture; Basic Education; Defence; Ocean Economy; Science and Technology; Tourism and Trade and Investment.
JOINT COMMUNIQUE OF THE SEVENTH SESSION OF BILATERAL CONSULTATIONS BETWEEN PORTUGAL AND SOUTH AFRICA
1. Portugal and South Africa concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Consultations on 25 November 2002, which provides for regular meetings chaired by the Ministers or Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries in order to discuss Bilateral Relations, Regional and Multilateral Issues.
2. Mr Francisco André, the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, hosted the Seventh Session of Bilateral Consultations in Lisbon on 24 June 2022. The South African delegation to the Consultations was led by Mr Alvin Botes, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. During his visit, Deputy Minister Botes also paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, Mr João Gomes Cravinho.
3. During their opening remarks at the Bilateral Consultations, both delegations expressed their satisfaction with the progress that had been made in the development of bilateral relations since the Sixth Meeting of Bilateral Consultations held in Pretoria in 2019. They also expressed their commitment to deepening and strengthening this relationship, both in substance and diversity. The issues on the agenda included the following:
3.1. Recent developments in Portugal and the European Union
Secretary of State Francisco André provided a briefing on recent developments in Portugal, including the legislative elections and the implementation of the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan. He also elaborated on recent developments in the European Union, including European actions to support Ukraine and energy and food security issues. He reiterated Portugal’s commitment to promoting and strengthening relations between the European Union and the African Union, one of the main objectives of the 2021 Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU and a long-lasting priority of Portuguese foreign policy.
3.2. Recent developments in South Africa and Africa
Deputy Minister Botes provided a briefing on developments in South Africa including the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which aims to restore the economy to inclusive growth following the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also highlighted the developments of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which seeks to boost intra-Africa trade, eliminate tariffs and facilitate investments.
3.3. General Overview
Portugal and South Africa recalled the array of bilateral instruments in force, on Taxation, Air Services and Scientific and Technologic Cooperation. Both countries expressed their willingness to conclude new bilateral instruments in the short term, including on Defence, Tourism and Fisheries.
Both countries agreed to foster bilateral visits to consolidate and deepen their bilateral ties and dialogue. Portugal conveyed President Rebelo de Sousa’s intention to celebrate the Portuguese National Day in South Africa in June 2023, emphasising the well-integrated Portuguese community living and working in the country. Both countries agreed that the preparations for the incoming visit can start as soon as it is officially confirmed.
3.4. Multilateral Issues
Portugal and South Africa emphasised their shared commitment to multilateralism, respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and acknowledged their high level of mutual understanding and coordination in multilateral affairs.
Both sides praised the fruitful collaboration in international fora on Human Rights, namely within the Human Rights Council. Views were exchanged on United Nations reform, in particular the reform of the United Nations Security Council, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change.
Portugal and South Africa recalled their good record regarding the mutual support of candidatures in international elections and reiterated their desire to continue to do so, whenever possible. In this regard, Portugal requested South Africa’s support to its candidacy to a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the 2027-28 mandate.
3.5. Language, Culture and Education
Portugal and South Africa discussed the bilateral cooperation on Language, Culture and Education and committed to further enhancing in this area. Both sides recalled that the Portuguese language is referred to in the South African Constitution as one of the languages that must be promoted and respected.
Portugal expressed an interest in supporting the Department of Basic Education to offer Portuguese as a Second or First Additional Language in South African schools (grade R to 12) and as a Home Language (grade 10 to 12).
Both sides reiterated their interest to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that could provide a global framework for language promotion and teaching. To support this strategy, Portugal is available and interested in developing a programme to train South African teachers to teach Portuguese in primary and secondary schools.
3.6. Science and Technology
Both sides recalled the successful recent meeting held between the Portuguese Minister Elvira Fortunato and the South African Minister, Blade Nzimande, on the occasion of Portugal’s hosting of the Eureka Ministerial Conference on 22 June 2022.
Portugal and South Africa noted their fruitful bilateral cooperation in the fields of science and technology. The bilateral cooperation in the fields of science and technology was established by an agreement signed by both countries in 2015. Both sides reflected on the common priorities, including space, the Air Centre, ocean research and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
South Africa will be hosting the 7th High Level Dialogue of the AIR Centre which is scheduled to take place in Cape Town from 28 November to 2 December 2022, which will be hosted immediately prior to South Africa’s hosting of the Word Science Forum.
Both Ministers agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Higher Education and Training by December 2022, to facilitate student and academic exchanges, as well as scholarships for PhD students in priority areas.
3.7. Trade and Investment
Portugal and South Africa exchanged views on bilateral trade and investment and agreed that the economic relationship between the two countries has not yet reached its full potential. They recognised the enormous potential for a deeper collaboration in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, environment, and energy. Concerning trade in agricultural products, both sides recognised some difficulties and agreed to keep in close touch and to facilitate technical points of contact on sanitary and phytosanitary requirements.
Tourism is a very relevant economic area for Portugal and South Africa in which both countries believe they can further cooperate, both bilaterally and at a multilateral level. It was agreed to foster collaboration in this field, particularly in training and skills development, exchange programmes and sharing of best practices. Both countries expressed their willingness to conclude the negotiations for a proposed Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Tourism.
Portugal and South Africa acknowledged the importance of the ocean economy and noted the potential for future cooperation on Oceans, Fisheries and Marine Resources. Portugal recalled its proposal of a draft Memorandum of Understanding on Fisheries on Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Environment.
Portugal briefed South Africa on the upcoming second United Nations Ocean Conference, that Portugal will co-host, together with Kenya, from 27 June to 1 July 2022. Both countries reiterated their commitment to Oceans’ protection and sustainability.
Portugal and South Africa expressed their determination to further develop their relationship in the field of defence and emphasised their willingness to strengthen defence cooperation in areas such as maritime security, peacekeeping, military education and training, and defence industry. Both countries look forward to concluding the negotiations of a Defence Cooperation Agreement.
3.11. Regional and International Affairs
In an open and constructive spirit, Portugal and South Africa expressed their views on the main topics of the international agenda. They recalled their commitment towards multilateralism, respect for human rights and international law and the need to reinforce cooperation to ensure an inclusive post-pandemic recovery for all countries.
Portugal and South Africa discussed the insurgency in the province of Cabo Delgado, in Mozambique, and recognised each other’s efforts, including in the framework of the European Union and SADC, to support Mozambique.
Both delegations exchanged views on the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine including the desperate humanitarian situation and increased food and energy insecurity worldwide, particularly in Africa and the developing world. Portugal and South Africa expressed their profound solidarity with the families of the victims and shared their common desire for the conflict to end shortly.
Both sides recalled the results of the Sixth EU-AU Summit in February 2022 and expressed their strong commitment to deepening the Partnership between the European Union and the African Union, particularly on issues like security and governance, peace and economic prosperity.
4. It was agreed that the Eighth Session of Bilateral Consultations will be held in South Africa before the end of 2024.
The Joint Communiqué of the Seventh Session of the South Africa – Portugal Bilateral Consultations was signed in Lisbon on 24 June 2022.
#SAinPortugal 🇿🇦 🇵🇹