Pretoria — International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim is to pay a two-day working visit to the Philippines next week to strengthen relations with that country, in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and culture.
During the visit, Ebrahim will meet with the Under-Secretary of International Economic Policy, Laura Q. del Rosario, of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs.
Other engagements will include meeting the Chairperson of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and undertaking a speaking engagement at the University of the Philippines, focusing on South Africa's Foreign Policy.
According to the department, while trade, investment, tourism and culture will dominate talks, discussions are also expected to centre on issues of mutual interest in terms of regional and multilateral developments.
The South African government established formal diplomatic relations with the Philippines in November 1993. The Philippine Embassy in Pretoria was established in June 1994. South Africa, in turn, established an Embassy in Manila in December 2004.
"Relations between South Africa and the Philippines are strong both on the bilateral and multilateral levels. Both countries are influential in organisations of the South, including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 and China (G77).
"There is, however, considerable scope for the deepening of relations at the bilateral level, through structured interaction and high-level visits," said the department.
It is expected that a Memorandum of Agreement on the establishment of a Bilateral Consultative Forum (BCF) will be signed between the two countries shortly.
On the economic front, efforts have been undertaken by both countries to enhance bilateral trade and commercial relations.