German Chancellor Scholz committed to supporting SA

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President Cyril Ramaphosa said Germany is committed to supporting South Africa’s efforts towards industrialisation, infrastructure development and job creation.

Ramaphosa hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on an official visit after he was elected chancellor in December 2021, succeeding former chancellor Angela Merkel

He said Scholz’s visit to South Africa comes at a time when the country is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

A number of issues were discussed between the two leaders during their meeting on Tuesday, including increased trade relations, German companies investing in South Africa and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Germany is South Africa’s second largest trading partner with the country being home to around 600 German companies.

Ramaphosa said South Africa is rebuilding itself after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are rebuilding in the wake of the devastating impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, which has deepened poverty, inequality and unemployment.”

Investment

The president said while Africa has been able to successfully manufacture Covid-19 vaccines locally, he is concerned that no one is buying them from Africa.

“This is a matter of great concern for us and this is an area that should also concern you because you have been at the forefront of helping us as the continent to move up the ladder of being able to produce vaccines,” said Ramaphosa.

Remarking that he is happy to have helped with manufacturing vaccines, Scholz said South Africa needs to make it easier to invest in the country.

“We should increase the investment in your country, making it more easy is one of the aspects we will discuss.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine

During their discussions Ramaphosa and Scholz also spoke about Russia’s war in the Ukraine and the need for negotiations to bring about an end to the war.

“Chancellor Scholz and I also discussed a broad range of international issues. These included the pursuit of peace and security on the African continent,” Ramaphosa said.

Weighing in on the conflict in the Ukraine, Scholz said the war needs to end.

“Ending the war will save the lives of many people that otherwise would die. We see now the consequences of this war against Ukraine and we have to convince Russia that they will go out of the war and give peace a chance for Ukraine and for the development of all of us.”

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa breaks silence, finally speaks to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

South Africa has been heavily criticised for repeatedly calling for Russia and Ukraine to maintain peace talks and resolve disputes through dialogue and negotiations.

Last month Ramaphosa broke his silence and finally spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for first time since the invasion of Ukraine, almost two months after speaking to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Medical emergency

Earlier, a member of the German delegation accompanying Scholz suffered a medical emergency and had to be whisked away from proceedings at the Union Buildings.

The incident occurred just after a 21-gun salute by members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

The official was aided by another member of the German contingent, and a medical team was called in.

The reason for the official’s ill-health is unclear at this stage.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Ramaphosa says he told Mthethwa to cancel R22 million flag project

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