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Germany, SA cement ties

Written by Samona Naidu

International relations

South Africa and Germany have joined forces to boost development, create jobs and grow both economies.

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and German Ambassador Horst Freitag recently signed five agreements worth over R5.89 billion. These agreements are expected to help South Africa create new jobs as well as skill the country’s workforce.

“South Africa is one of our most important global development partners,” Ambassador Freitag said.

He added that Germany would continue to support South Africa as it addressed challenges such as unemployment, crime and developing a skilled and sustainable workforce.

Minister Nene welcomed the German support.

“On behalf of the citizens of South Africa, the recipients of your support, we would like to express our gratitude for the long standing partnership with the German government and hope to strengthen the collaboration going forward,” the Minister said.

South Africa and Germany’s development cooperation dates back to 1992. To date, Germany has invested over R14.4 billion in the country’s financial and technical economy. This amount has gone towards empowering people, transferring of skills and building of institutional capabilities.

Over the last 20 years, the bilateral cooperation has grown into a partnership focused on the areas of energy and climate change, HIV and AIDS prevention and good governance.

“Our development cooperation is an integral part of our broader cooperation in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres, bearing testimony to a successful partnership between countries of the Northern and Southern hemisphere in a changing world,” Ambassador Freitag said.

One of the projects assisted by the agreement is the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) programme in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape.

A total of R120 million has been pumped into the programme to be rolled out over the next five years by the City of Cape Town in partnership with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and the German Development Bank.

The aim of the programme is to tackle crime, poverty and unemployment by transforming and upgrading communities across the Cape Flats, with Khayelitsha being the first. The project began in 2006.

The programme focuses on reducing crime and increasing safety by upgrading neighbourhoods, improving social standards and introducing sustainable community projects to empower local residents. The project has so far focused on the improvement of four key node areas in Khayelitsha to create safe areas for over 50 000 residents.