The ABF Co-Chairs were Ambassador Maud Dlomo, Deputy Director-General: Americas and Europe at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and Mr

Todd Haskell, Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim of the Embassy of the United States.

The ABF is a key component of the Strategic Partnership between South Africa and the United States with the objective to review the

implementation of the numerous ongoing cooperation programmes and projects between the two countries, which are aligned to South Africa’s domestic priorities and the National Development Plan (NDP), which aims

to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.

Senior officials from South African Government Departments and their

counterparts from the US Embassy made recommendations for continued and

improved cooperation that advances the interests of both countries.  The

discussions within eight Working Groups focused on current and future

bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, health, basic and higher education, agriculture, energy, water, environment, transportation, science and innovation, and safety and security.

Upon receiving positive feedback from all projects that are implemented by different sectors, both sides agreed that the partnership is based on a strong global health collaboration which has been improving for many decades.

The South African Government and the United States reaffirmed their collaboration in the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the two nations’ longstanding partnership to address HIV/AIDS and

tuberculosis.  While the COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to these efforts, the meeting affirmed the commitment to reaching HIV epidemic control as soon as possible and to collaborate on emerging global health threats and epidemic preparedness.

With regard to safety and security, both parties welcomed the robust and mutually beneficial cooperation and agreed to intensify collaboration in mutual legal assistance and other justice related matters.  The two sides looked forward to relaunching the Bilateral Strategic Energy and Climate Change Dialogue and to work with other partners to support the

Just Transition to a low carbon economy and a climate resilient society in South Africa.

In relation to the bilateral trade and investment relationship, it was noted that two-way trade in goods between the two countries grew from

$13.9 billion in 2010 to a peak of $21 billion in 2021. Significantly, in 2021, the US ranked as the 2nd largest destination for South Africa’s

exports globally. South Africa looked forward to hosting the AGOA Forum in 2022 and both sides undertook to work collaboratively to resolve non-tariff barriers to trade.

In science and technology there was appreciation for the good cooperation in the field of astronomy between SANSA and NASA, while the creation of hubs in South Africa for vaccine production and support for innovation to address diseases of relevance to South Africa and the African continent was welcomed.  Reference was made to the robust and constructive cooperation in both higher and basic education, with an expansion in cooperation and US support for Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) in South Africa. The parties further

appreciated the ongoing interventions, at both national and local levels, to address gender-based violence (GBV), including community-based programmes targeting the youth and young women.

The parties agreed that the ABF remains an important platform to review

The Diplomatic Informer
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