7 August 2012

South Africa: Clinton Visits Nelson Mandela At Home in South Africa

Photo: U.S. State Dept./Flickr
U.S. Secretary Clinton and South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane during the second meeting of the South Africa-United States of America Strategic Dialogue in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with former South African President Nelson Mandela at his home in the village of Qunu August 6 before addressing the first-ever U.S.-South Africa Business Partnership, meeting with senior South African officials and attending the U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue.

She visited privately with the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader, who rarely appears in public. After meeting for about an hour, the two smiled for photos but did not address reporters.

The secretary then had lunch with Mandela's wife, Graça Machel, before leaving for Johannesburg.

Addressing the inaugural U.S.-South Africa Business Partnership Summit, Clinton said the two countries are working closely together because doing so in a 21st-century globalized economy is "absolutely required if we're going to be creating jobs and opportunities for people in both of our countries."

Clinton said the United States aims to build mutually beneficial partnerships with countries across Africa by enhancing trade, investment and economic ties in order to create jobs, promote widespread prosperity and support sustainable growth both in Africa and the United States.

She next traveled to Pretoria, where she joined South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane for the U.S.-South Africa Strategic Dialogue. The two addressed reporters after meeting August 7 to discuss a wide range of shared interests, including bilateral trade, joint efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and cooperating to enhance gender equality.

"We are building a partnership that adds value -- saving and improving lives, spreading opportunity and sparking economic growth, strengthening the institutions of democracy, and so much more," Clinton said.

She said the dialogue covered regional cooperation on "a host of difficult issues" ranging from climate change to nonproliferation. Clinton said the two countries are forming a working group on global and African affairs to bring senior officials together more regularly to address shared challenges.

They also discussed expanding the U.S.-South Africa economic relationship. Two-way trade in 2011 reached $21.8 billion, a 21 percent increase over the previous year. Clinton applauded these figures, but said both nations will benefit from expanding economic ties further.

She said the United States and South Africa signed a $2 billion agreement to stimulate the growth of South Africa's renewable energy sector, a deal set to create jobs and stimulate economies on both sides.

The South African foreign minister expressed appreciation for the United States' partnership in the fight against HIV/AIDS through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

"Through PEPFAR, the United States has contributed over 3 billion U.S. dollars to South Africa from 2004 up to 2011," she said. "We remain a strong supporter of a continued partnership with the U.S. on HIV and AIDS."

Clinton said that working together, the two countries have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of South African men, women and children. She applauded the country's commitment to increase its own investment and responsibility for managing the epidemic, and said the United States remains committed to helping South Africa "see this fight through to the end."

Both Clinton and Nkoana-Mashabane said their talks touched on a range of other issues, including combating cybersecurity threats, ending child marriage, supporting the adoption of clean cookstoves and fostering women's political participation.

The secretary led the U.S. delegation on the trip. She was joined by U.S. business and government leaders, including Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats; Under Secretary of Commerce Francisco Sánchez; Fred Hochberg, president of the Export-Import Bank; CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation Elizabeth Littlefield; and U.S. Trade and Development Agency Director Leocadia Zak.

Clinton said the South Africa visit marks the centerpiece of her Africa tour, which began July 31 in Senegal, continued in South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Malawi, and will conclude with visits to Nigeria, Ghana and Benin.

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