President Cyril Ramaphosa has presided over a ceremony to receive letters of credence from incoming diplomats from countries across the world.
The diplomats hail from 15 countries from across Europe, North and South America and Africa and have been elected by their respective countries to serve as Ambassadors or High Commissioners to South Africa.
While meeting the President, the senior diplomats took the opportunity to commit to strengthening ties between South Africa and their respective countries.
South Africa’s biggest trading partners on the African continent, outside of Southern and East Africa, Nigeria and Ghana also presented their credentials to the President on Tuesday.
New Ghanaian High Commissioner, Charles Owiredu reflected on the two countries’ shared past going back to the apartheid era.
“We in Ghana are happy to learn that yourself and [Ghanaian President] Nana Akufo-Addo, have escalated our Joint Commission to the level of a Bi-National Commission...this will further strengthen the relationship in terms of trade and investment and also, the people to people contact,” Owiredu said.
Incoming Nigerian High Commissioner Haruna Manta said his presence in the country would be to deepen exchanges in education, military training and other areas.
“I’m here to build on the solid foundation laid by my predecessors…to promote trade between our two countries and to also promote our cultural exchanges,” he said.
Two of South Africa’s biggest international trade partners, Germany and the United Kingdom also committed to reinforcing bonds.
The new German Ambassador Andreas Peschke said that President Ramaphosa’s recent visit to Germany underlined the importance of the ties between the two countries, which would be strengthened moving forward.
“Among the priorities for me by my government...are the following, first [is to] enhance the economic relationship between our countries by increasing the level of trade and investment. Second, [is to] cooperate in the field of skills development and education, third, cooperation in the area of health and particularly in the area of vaccines against COVID-19 and others and fourth, cooperation on a fair, just and green energy transition,” Peschke said.
Incoming United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland High Commissioner Antony Phillipson, who was born in South Africa, described links between the two countries as “deep and enduring ties”.
“Our aim is to strengthen this partnership through more trade and investment, enhancing bilateral engagements with a focus on inclusive economic growth and creating opportunities for all. That includes forging new links in areas like science and research.
“We must also stand together to face global challenges. The most immediate of course is COVID. As we tackle it nationally, we must work together in the G7, the G20, the Commonwealth and elsewhere,” he said.
The new Ambassadors and High Commissioners who presented their credentials are from:
Republic of Bulgaria
Oriental Republic of Uruguay
Republic of Seychelles
Republic of Burundi
Republic of Turkey
Republic of Sierra Leone
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Republic of Maldives
Federal Republic of Germany
Republic of Singapore
Republic of Djibouti
Republic of Cyprus
Source: South African Government News Agency