This is what Ramaphosa plans to tell UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

23 November 2022 - 06:30
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President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed Britain's MPs on Tuesday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed Britain's MPs on Tuesday.
Image: Supplied/ GCIS

When President Cyril Ramaphosa meets with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at London’s 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, he will ask him to increase the number of South Africans who study in his country.

“More than 800 South Africans have benefited from the Chevening Scholarship programme and there are currently more than 130 South African PhD candidates studying in the UK.

“ I had the occasion to meet some of them and many are young women who have embraced the opportunity to study here with great enthusiasm. As the president of South Africa and government, I’d like to see these numbers increase threefold.

“When I meet the prime minister , that is the message I am going to pass on to him. This state visit is an opportunity to reinvigorate the ties of commerce, trade and investment between our two countries,” Ramaphosa said on Tuesday 

He was addressing a joint sitting in parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London.

Ramaphosa is on a two-day state visit to the country in a bid to woo the Brits to invest in South Africa and further strengthen ties between the two countries.

He said: “The United Kingdom is the largest foreign investor in South Africa and the country’s fifth largest export destination. Over the last two decades, the United Kingdom has been South Africa’s largest source of tourist visitors outside of Africa.”

He said there are few countries that have the depth of experience and knowledge of the South Africa economy than Britain.

“British companies need to use this advantage to greater effect to seek out the opportunities in our country for investment and trade.”

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The co-operation in science and innovation between the two countries is significant, with rich potential for further expansion.

“Since 2015, the United Kingdom has invested more than R350m in Newton Fund partnerships with South Africa, reciprocated by a South African investment of R100m.

“The activities of the Newton Fund include a programme to train the next generation of radio astronomers in Sub-Saharan Africa, marine food security in the Indian Ocean, biomedical research and innovation, and support for entrepreneurs in the informal economy.” South Africa is convinced there is great scope to expand these areas of co-operation,” Ramaphosa said.

“As we strive to rebuild our economy in the wake of the pandemic and the era of state capture, which was grand corruption, as we work to create employment and economic opportunities for the 11-million South Africans who are without work, we are opening up new frontiers of growth and production.”

He assured the houses South Africa was undertaking far-reaching economic reforms to make the economy more competitive and more efficient, to reduce the cost of doing business and to encourage new entrants into several industries.

“As we undertake the most significant restructuring of our energy market in almost a century to address severe power shortages, there are great opportunities for investment, innovation and partnership.

“By pursuing these and other avenues for co-operation, I believe we will define the relationship between South Africa and the United Kingdom in new and exciting ways.”


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