President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said South Africa’s delegation to Washington DC for the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, held in August last year, was essential for drawing investment into Africa.
The summit had focused on trade, investment, development, peace and regional stability.
President Zuma said the summit was also beneficial for the future generation of leaders, as it dealt with matters of good governance, youth development and service delivery.
The President said this in written replies to Parliamentary questions.
The Presidency said President Zuma was unable to complete the oral questions session on 21 August 2014, as he was interrupted by some Members of Parliament in the National Assembly.
The Presidency said President Zuma yesterday submitted outstanding replies to the Speaker of the National Assembly as written replies, for the benefit of the members who had asked the questions.
In his replies, President Zuma said the summit was a huge success and served to reshape the relationship between Africa and the US.
“We believe that we contributed to ensuring that the summit delivers on tangible priorities for Africa on the economic front. The summit helped to position Africa in the US as a continent on the rise and which is ripe with possibilities, especially for trade and investment,” said President Zuma.
He said the visit was a success as well in terms of promoting US-South Africa trade and investment ties.
“We had productive sessions of marketing the country with the US-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and a meeting with the Washington National Press Club,” he said.
President Zuma said more than 600 US companies invest in the South African economy, and “we want to further deepen these ties which create much-needed jobs in our country”.
He said the delegation also contributed positively to the promotion of Africa’s regional integration and development goals.
“Another significant outcome among others is the support of the peace and security measures that Africa wants to institute, for example, the African rapid response mechanism and standby force,” said President Zuma.
He said the delegation emphasised the guiding principle of African solutions to African problems, which means that any support would need to be African-developed and African-led.
“At a bilateral level, our formal bilateral discussions with US Vice President Joe Biden and informal discussions with President Barrack Obama and senior members of the US Congress set the tone for further discussions and cooperation in many areas,” he said.
President Zuma said the delegation communicated intensively the importance of the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to South Africa and to Africa.
He said South Africa has benefitted immensely from AGOA, with 95% of its exports having entered the US through preferential treatment under AGOA.
“We were pleased to secure a political commitment from the US government for the renewal of AGOA with the inclusion of South Africa. We will continue to engage with the US Administration and the US Congress in this regard,” he said.
The President was accompanied by four Cabinet Ministers that formed part of the official South African delegation that participated in the US-African Leaders Summit on 6 August 2014, including International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, State Security Minister David Mahlobo and Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
He said other members of the National Executive, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor and Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu and Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, were invited by the US Government and participated in key side events prior to the actual summit on 6 August.
“All members of the delegation enhanced South Africa’s presence and promoted the country’s priorities in the various forums that they participated in,” he said.