The UK and South Africa will join forces to drive economic growth and turbocharge infrastructure investment, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced in a statement at the start of President Ramaphosa’s recent formal state visit to the UK.
The statement said that the UK was partnering with South Africa in a number of initiatives and programmes to promote investment in infrastructure and skills development in South Africa. The announcement coincided with the first day of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State visit to the UK, the first such visit to be hosted by King Charles III.
The next phase of the UK-South Africa Infrastructure Partnership is being launched, supporting South Africa’s economic growth through major infrastructure developments and offering increased access to UK companies to projects worth up to £5.37 billion over the next three years. The UK Government will also confirm new grant-funded technical assistance to South Africa to help unlock green hydrogen opportunities and boost skills in this key sector.
As an example of the opportunities for UK businesses, Globeleq – a UK company which is majority owned by British International Investment – has announced they have reached legal close on six solar power projects, with construction expected to kick off in South Africa next year.
South Africa is the continent’s second largest economy and is already the UK’s biggest trading partner in Africa, with trade worth £10.7 billion annually. Unlocking export finance offers significant opportunities for British businesses to invest and trade.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was in London for a two-day state visit, hosted by His Majesty The King. After attending a state banquet for the South African delegation at Buckingham Palace, the Prime Minister welcomed President Ramaphosa to Downing Street for a bilateral meeting and luncheon.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “South Africa is already the UK’s biggest trading partner on the continent, and we have ambitious plans to turbocharge infrastructure investment and economic growth together.”
“We look forward to welcoming President Ramaphosa to London to discuss how we can deepen the partnership between our two great nations and capitalise on shared opportunities, from trade and tourism and security and defence.”
“A new education and skills partnership between the UK and the South African governments will also promote shared learning in technical and vocational education, driving youth employment.”
“UK funding will build the highly sought-after technical and entrepreneurial skills in the biggest growth sectors including green technology and electric vehicle manufacture, ensuring South Africa’s youth are benefitting from the green transition.”
The South Africa Just Energy Transition Partnership, launched at COP26, also offers new opportunities to collaborate on renewable technology and green innovation. The UK and South Africa have announced the creation of a new Partnership on Minerals for Future Clean Energy Technologies to promote increased responsible exploration, production and processing of minerals in South and Southern Africa.
Countries in the region are among the world’s leading producers of vital minerals used in clean technology, including platinum group metals and iridium for hydrogen production and vanadium and manganese for battery storage. This partnership will utilise the UK’s expertise as the home to leading global mining houses and financial services centre for metals to bolster sustainable and responsible production.