Oct 2016 2nd Edition

SA takes lessons from Vietnam

Written by Bathandwa Mbola

International relations

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa recently led a South African delegation to take lessons on how government can develop the country and reduce poverty. 

The official visit to Vietnam is expected to strengthen bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries.

The visit is being used to explore possibilities of breaking into new areas of trade and investment to help reverse trade imbalances between South Africa and Vietnam.

One of south-east Asia's fastest growing economies, Vietnam, offers great trading opportunities for South African companies particularly in transport, mining, road and infrastructure and the defence industry.

“Being here means we have come to learn how you have succeeded in developing your own country. You have been able to reduce poverty in your own country. You have been able to industrialise your country, and the success that you have achieved in Vietnam is a success that we have noticed and we would also like to get to,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.

Among others the Deputy President held bilateral discussions with his counterpart Vice President Ðặng Thịnh.

They exchanged views on how to deepen cooperation on defence matters, as well as addressing the trade deficit. The two sides indicated that they are looking at the agricultural sector, where South African agricultural products can be exported to Vietnam, particularly beef. This cooperation, Deputy President Ramaphosa said, can extend to mining products.

“… We discussed how South Africa should look at Vietnam as the gateway into the Asian countries trade market. We also expressed a wish that Vietnam should keep South Africa as the gateway into Africa,” he said.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has grown significantly from R13.4 billion to R18.5 billion in 2015, making Vietnam the fourth largest trading partner of South Africa in the Asian region.

On the education front, parties committed to extended scholarships for South African youth to go to Vietnam to learn about the ocean economy, particularly shipbuilding.

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