Statement by Ministry Of Small Business Development
MINISTRY OF SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT | June 08, 2018
STATEMENT BY MINISTRY OF SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ON MINISTER ZULU’S ATTENDANCE AND ADDRESS ON THE CENTENARIES OF PRESIDENT NELSON MANDELA AND ALBERTINA SISULU, THE 12TH EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT DAYS IN BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
Minister of Small Business Development; Ms. Lindiwe Zulu has today on 08 June 2018 returned home after concluding a successful visit to Brussels, Belgium wherein she participated in the 12th European Union Development Days (EUDD) and; addressed a special session dedicated to the Centenaries of Former President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu. Minister Zulu’s address reinforced Governments decision to declare 2018 as the year to celebrate and commemorate its two struggle hero’s for the important role they played in South Africa’s journey towards freedom and democracy. Minister Zulu said, “We thank the European Commission for this unique and indeed historic opportunity to honour our struggle heroes in recognising the legendary contribution made by President Mandela in uniting South Africans through its democratic process and Mama Albertina Sisulu on her pioneering role in the emancipation of women”. It is also expected that the European Parliament will later this year adopt a resolution on the Centenary Celebrations for President Nelson Mandela.
The EUDD was held from 05-06 June in Brussels, Belgium on the theme; Women and Girls at the forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower and invest. The EUDD brings together the development community to share ideas to inspire new partnerships and innovation solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. (see www EuropeAid)
The EU is South Africa’s largest trading partner and largest foreign investor, representing 77% of total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country. Total trade has increased from R150 billion in 2000 to R599.86 billion in 2017. South African exports to the EU increased from R64 billion in 2000 to R262 billion in 2017. Over 2,000 EU companies operate in South Africa creating more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs. In this regard, the EUDD Minister Zulu also met with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Ms Federica Mogherini and exchanged views on strengthening South Africa’s strategic partnership with the EU towards the EU-SA Summit later this year, as well as reforming and strengthening global multilateral system of governance, deepening African Union and European partnership as well as other global issues such as climate change, peace and security etc. They reaffirmed close cooperation with between the two sides as SA prepares to take a non-permanent seat in the UNSC.
Minister Zulu will also meet with her Belgian counterpart the Minister of Middle Income Classes, Self Employed, SMMEs, Agriculture and Social Integration, H.E. Mr Denis Ducarme, and with H.E. Mr Pieter De Crem, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the field of SMME and Cooperatives development and agreed to forge stronger relations aimed at increasing trade and investment opportunities for the benefit of SMMEs.
In line with President Ramaphosa’s call to encourage investment into the country, the Minister had a successful meeting with the Africa Business Angels Network (ABAN); the European Angels Business Network (EBAN) as well as Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Belgium to work towards opening markets for South African SMMEs in Europe. Minister Zulu also met with the Director General of the European Business Summit, Mr Arnaud Thysen to explore areas of cooperation, especially in light of the upcoming President’s Investment Summit in South Africa.
Minister Zulu also address the European Parliament Conference on the EU and Western Sahara. The Minister reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment and support to the aspirations to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. This meeting follows President, Cyril Ramaphosa with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic President, Brahim Ghali in Pretoria on the 5th June 2018, where the President reaffirmed our support for the occupied people of Western Sahara.
Minister Zulu also welcomed the EU’s increased development corporation efforts towards South Africa and the EUs support towards South Africa’s efforts towards redress of historic imbalanced land ownership.