The objective of the MoU is to build relations in a variety of fields, with a priority being the 2010 soccer World Cup, says Sarmad Hussain, the adviser to the German Parliament for international corporation, while visiting South Africa.
This will be preceded by a delegation from Limpopo, which will be visiting Berlin and Thueringen, predominantly to discuss the link between transport and the 2006 and 2010 soccer World Cups in Germany and South Africa respectively.
In preparation for next year’s World Cup, Germany has recognised that it must promote the economy through the provision of sufficient information, and the European country will share this knowledge with South Africa.
Infrastructure development and the respective World Cups are interconnected; consequently Thueringen will be able to support Limpopo in road maintenance, administration and traffic management. The purpose of the MoU is to build relations between Limpopo and Thueringen, with the underlying aim of building relations in different fields, especially to help Limpopo prepare for the 2010 World Cup.
Through the knowledge and experience of the former East German province, Thueringen can assist the Limpopo province through the economic transfer process in the eradication of poverty and reducing the high unemployment rate, explains Hussain.
The government of this province has designed special programmes to integrate the unemployed into mainstream society, and this knowledge can, in turn, be imparted to the Limpopo province.
In addition, Thueringen boasts world-class universities, which are assisting in the fight against HIV/Aids by undertaking research into new medical fields.
The development of infrastructure is yet another imperative, says Hussain, adding that South Africa’s national highways, for example the N1 and the N3, are on a par with European standards.
Bilateral relations between Germany and South Africa are already very good, enthuses Hussein.
South Africa is one of Germany’s most important partnerships, where there is a special strategic relationship.
Last year the trade volume between South Africa and Germany totalled €9,7-billion.
With regard to imports, South Africa ranks number four on this country’s import list.
Direct investment into South Africa is €3-billion, which is significant in relation to Germany’s investment into other economies.
For example, says Hussain, its total investment into Latin America only adds up to some €900-million.
Germany’s investment into South Africa is channelled primarily into the automotive sector – the largest German car sector after the US – chemicals, civil engineering and electrical industries.
There is already coopor-ation between other German and South African provinces, says Hussain.
For example, Bavaria has cooporations with Gauteng and the Western Cape as well as between North Rhine Westphalia and Mpumanlanga, among others.
In fact, there are more than 600 German companies in South Africa employing more than 100 000 people.
Germany has undertaken more than 60 different projects in different regions of South Africa.
The focus is on municipal development and education in supporting the private sector and on improving good governance.
Moreover, Germany is also supporting South Africa in terms of the Southern African Development Community and New Partnership for Africa’s Development requirements.
“South Africa is recognised as an important force in Africa,” emphasises Hussain.