RUSSIAN - SOUTH AFRICAN RELATIONS

 

Diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Africa were established on 28 February, 1992. Russian Embassy in RSA is located in Pretoria, Russian Consulate General – in Cape Town. Embassy of RSA is operating in Moscow.

Russian – South African relations are based on a solid legal platform of about 70 various documents and covers the spheres of investment protection, double taxation avoidance, energy, agriculture, exploration, mining and procession of natural resources, intellectual property etc. Fundamental documents are the Treaty on Friendship and Partnership concluded within the official visit of President of Russia Vladimir Putin to the RSA (Cape Town) in September 2016 and the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Africa, signed during the working visit of President Vladimir Putin to the RSA timed to BRICS Summit in Durban in March 2013.

On March 23, 2018, Presidents of Russia and South Africa held phone talks, during which President Cyril Ramaphosa congratulated Vladimir Putin on the presidential elections victory. On 16 May, 2018, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a conversation with Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa David Mabuza who arrived in Russia as South African President’s special envoy. The first meeting of V.Putin and C.Ramaphosa took place in the course of BRICS Summit in Johannesburg. On 26 July, 2018, on the sidelines of this event negotiations in an expanded format were held and a Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership between Russia and South Africa was signed, updating the Joint Declaration of 2013.The two leaders confirmed mutual commitment to further develop strategic partnership and enhance collaboration of Moscow and Pretoria in the international arena on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Osaka on 28 June, 2019. During the first ever Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi on 23 October, 2019 this commitment was reaffirmed once again.

In the area of foreign policy close approaches to shaping a world order based on multipolar principles and respect for international law, strengthening of the UN’s leading role, settling regional conflicts, countering terrorism are characteristic of both Moscow and Pretoria. Active and regular dialogue of foreign policy departments facilitates the countries’ coordination in the international arena particularly within UN, BRICS and G20 formats. The negotiations of Russia’s Foreign Minister S.Lavrov and South Africa’s Minister for International Relations and Cooperation N.Pandor were held in July 2019 in Rio de Janeiro.

The key coordination mechanism of bilateral collaboration is the Joint Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) the most recent 15th session of which was held on 19-21 November 2018 in Moscow.

Russian ITEC chapter is presently chaired by Dmitry Kobylkin, acting Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, his South African counterpart is Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa.

As a tool to promote businesses on both Russian and South African markets the bilateral Business Council has been operating since 2006 the most recent session of which was convened on the sidelines of ITEC in November 2016.

In January – September 2019 trade turnover between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Africa amounted to 968 million USD (an increase of 6,3% compared to the corresponding period of 2018).

Russia’s major exports include cereals (37,4% of total export volume), fertilizer (22,4%) ferrous metals (11,1%), mineral fuels and oil (8,2%), paper and paperboard (7,9%).

Imports from South Africa are dominated by fruits and nuts (28,6% of total volume), ores, slag and ash (21,6%), inorganic chemical products (14%), land transport assets (11%).

Russian accumulated investments in South Africa are estimated at 1,5 bln USD, whereas the volume of South African investments exceeds 5 bln USD.

Russian companies investing in RSA are “Renova Group” (exploration and production of manganese ore and silicon-manganese), OAO Severstal (production of briquetted iron) and PAO “Kamaz” (trucks and dump trucks, currently preparing for vehicle assembly in RSA). JSC “Rusgeology” and the South African corporation “PetroSA” cooperate in exploring and exploiting of hydrocarbons on the RSA’s southern shelf. South African companies working in Russia are “SABMiller” (brewing company), “Naspers” (information technologies), “Bateman” (equipment and technologies for mining and metallurgical companies), “Bell” (heavy machinery), Standard Bank (financial services).

Exchange of business delegations participating in international specialized exhibits, trade fairs and conferences held in both countries became a good practice. In particular, Russian companies showcase their products at international events held in South Africa, such as “African Utility Week” (energy), “NAMPO Harvest Day” (agriculture), “BAUMA” (construction), “Africa Rail” (rail transport), “SecurEx (security technologies), “Africa Health” (healthcare) etc.

In 2016-2018 Russia and South Africa held overlapping Cultural Seasons. Art exhibitions and music band performances were organized within the Seasons’ framework. On 13 December, 2018, in memorial complex “Freedom Park” of Pretoria the Russian section of the Wall of Names comprising inscriptions with the names of 67 Soviet/Russian soldiers who had participated in South Africa’s liberation struggle was unveiled.

About 3000 Russian compatriots currently reside in RSA, primarily in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. Since 1998 the only parish of the Russian Orthodox Church in sub-Saharan Africa dedicated to St.Sergius, Hiegumen of Radonezh and of all Russia has been operating in Midrand, halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria. The temple complex was consecrated in 2003.

The Ambassador of Russia to South Africa – H.E. Mr. Ilya Rogachev (appointed by presidential decree № 315 of July 3, 2019), his credentials were presented on October 15, 2019.

Acting Consul General of Russia in Cape Town – Alexander Ivashchenko.

The Trade Representative of Russia in South Africa – Mr. Maksim Bureev (appointed on July 13, 2015).

The Honorary Consul of South Africa in Vladivostok – Russian citizen Yuri Sivachenko.

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