High-level consultations between Switzerland and South Africa for bilateral co-operation in science

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The 5th session of the South Africa-Switzerland High-Level consultations taking place in Fribourg was co-chaired by Mr Yves Rossier, Swiss State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and Mr Marius Fransman, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa.

The high-level representatives of both countries agreed on principles that underscored their conviction that the enhancement of bilateral economic relations and scientific cooperation be pursued and their intention to intensify cooperation at regional and multilateral levels.

Over the last five years Switzerland has strengthened its economic ties and scientific cooperation with South Africa, its main strategic partner on the African continent.

During the 5th round of high-level consultations on 26th November 2013, the countries exchanged views on a broad range of shared issues concerning foreign policy, the economy, trade, financial matters, development cooperation, science and technology.

The Swiss State Secretary and his South African counterpart underlined the value of further cooperation in areas of mutual regional and global interest. A key issue was peace promotion, in which the two countries have longstanding experience (for example in Mali, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region).

Both Switzerland and South Africa stressed the importance of civilian peace-building efforts aiming at accelerating the political transition process in post-conflictual contexts in African countries.

South Africa is the most important trading partner for Switzerland on the African continent and Swiss companies are among the biggest investors in South Africa. South Africa remains a partner country for Swiss economic development cooperation.

Switzerland reconfirmed its intention to commit up to CHF 80 million during the 2013-2016 period for investment in development projects and to support the development of a competitive economy, to support energy reduction as well as to promote South Africa as a centre of expertise for the region.

Beyond the existing strong bilateral relations in terms of economic, investment and development cooperation, Switzerland and South Africa work together closely in the field of science and technology. Both parties are very satisfied with the positive development of this bilateral cooperation and, in particular, the Swiss-South African Joint Research Programme (SSAJRP).

The 5th high-level consultations enhanced the relations between the two countries and established the areas of focus for future cooperation.