South African deputy foreign minister to visit Manila
South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim will have a working visit in the Philippines on September 24 and 25, the Department of Foreign Affairs said over the weekend.
The DFA said the working visit aims to tackle the expansion and strengthening of relations between the Philippines and South Africa, specifically in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and culture.
In a news release, the DFA said the visit is a prelude to the scheduled signing by DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario and South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of the Philippines-South Africa Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the Establishment of a Bilateral Consultative Forum (BCF).
Both officials are to sign the document at the sidelines of the 67th United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, the DFA said.
"The BCF will provide an institutional mechanism under which the two countries can meet and discuss prospective avenues of cooperation," it said.
Ebrahim, a member of the African National Congress National Executive Committee, will be received by DFA Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Laura del Rosario.
He will meet with officials from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), Philippines-Southern Africa Business Council, and the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Ebrahim is scheduled to conduct a public lecture "South Africa's Foreign Policy: A Vision for South-South Cooperation" on September 25 at 10 a.m. at the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) Faculty Center at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus.
South Africa is the Philippine's largest trading partner in the African region, with a total trade volume of $218 million in 2011.
Both countries established formal diplomatic relations in 1993.
Since then, high-level visits between the Philippines and South Africa have been highlighted by the exchange of visits between democratic icons former President Corazon Aquino and South African President Nelson Mandela in 1996 and 1997, respectively.
The DFA said South Africa is a major player in regional and international fora, championing the cause of South-South cooperation, and is one of the world's most fast-growing economies as a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). — ELR, GMA News
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