As the country battles continued load shedding, President Cyril Ramaphosa has wooed the United Kingdom with investment opportunities including in the energy sector, saying it stood by South Africa during its “darkest hours.”
Ramaphosa’s made the remarks during a joint sitting of the British Parliament in in the Palace of Westminster in London on Monday night.
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Investment in South Africa
The president said South Africa is undertaking far-reaching reforms to make the country’s economy more competitive and efficient.
Ramaphosa said his state visit was an opportunity to reinvigorate the ties of commerce, trade and investment between the two nations.
“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 cooperation, I believe that we will define the relationship between South Africa and the United Kingdom in new and exciting ways,” he said.
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Ramaphosa said British members of parliament have been vital, and engaged participants in the evolution of the relationship between the two countries.
“You have provided support and encouragement. You have stood by us during our darkest hours and you have celebrated our achievements.”
Ramaphosa also called on the UK and the other partners to ensure that its support to finance South Africa’s response to the climate crisis comes in the form of grants and highly concessional loans.
He said a strong partnership between South Africa and the United Kingdom could make a significant contribution to multilateralism and the achievement of consensus on critical global issues.
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Needs of developing countries
Ramaphosa said countries like the UK needed to be better equipped to respond to the needs of countries with developing economies.
“This is not charity. It is compensation for the harm done – and the harm yet to be done – to people in developing economies as a consequence of the industrialisation of wealthy countries. And because a global reduction in emissions benefits all countries and all people, it is also a necessary investment in the future of humanity.”
“We greatly appreciate the commitment of the United Kingdom to the implementation of a just energy transition in South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
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