WATCH: Ramaphosa, Biden meeting main points

“Our partnership is essential in addressing many of the world’s pressing challenges … and South Africa is a vital voice on the global stage,” Biden told Ramaphosa.

US President Joe Biden praised South Africa as a “vital voice” as the two countries discussed efforts to tackle the climate crisis, as well as ending the war in Ukraine. Jairus Mmutle.

Cape Town – US President Joe Biden also announced $45 million (about R799 million) in funding for a $8.5 multinational venture aimed at accelerating the phasing out of coal-fired power generation in South Africa.

US President Joe Biden praised South Africa as a “vital voice” as the two countries discussed efforts to tackle the climate crisis, as well as ending the war in Ukraine.

“Our partnership is essential in addressing many of the world’s pressing challenges, and South Africa is a vital voice on the global stage,” Biden told South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa.

US President Joe Biden, on Friday, discussed relations with Russia in a White House meeting with South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, who has resisted joining Washington’s campaign against Moscow for the war in Ukraine.

Biden, who has led an international coalition to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the near-seven-month war in Ukraine, wants South Africa’s help in efforts that include forcing Moscow to sell its oil at below-market rates.

After a jovial greeting before the press, the two leaders spoke privately in the Oval Office for more than an hour on topics that included trade, climate and energy, the White House said.

They committed to addressing several of “the world’s most urgent challenges over which we both share concern, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its negative consequences for food security in Africa,” the White House said.

Trade and Investment

On trade and investment, there was agreement on the need to create a more attractive environment for American companies to invest in South Africa, where an estimated 600 US companies are already doing business in a range of sectors. A joint task force on trade and investment will be established to expand bilateral economic ties. In 2023 South Africa will host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, which will map the next phase of Africa-US trade.

President Ramaphosa welcomed the United States’ further commitment to improving bilateral trade and investment volumes, which will create much-needed jobs and economic growth in South Africa.

President Ramaphosa expressed South Africa’s concerns about tariffs levied by the US on South African steel and aluminium products, which South Africa views as unfair and punitive.

Just Energy Transition

The leaders affirmed their commitment to the Just Energy Transition, and agreed that South Africa would require more funding to achieve an effective and just transition that leaves no one behind and that protects workers and communities that would be affected by the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. The work on the investment plan for the Just Energy Transition Partnership between South Africa and the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and the European Union is expected to be completed by the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in November 2022 in Egypt.

Regional stability and global security

Global security and stability discussions focused on the insurgent attacks in Mozambique. President Ramaphosa acknowledged the assistance currently being provided by the US in responding to the insurgent threat in Mozambique. President Ramaphosa called for more US support in the provision of skills and resources to counter the terrorist activities that are causing great suffering in Mozambique and threaten the stability of the SADC region.

Food Security in Africa

Africa’s food security featured prominently in the meeting with both Heads of State. “Following on from the discussions at the G7 meeting held in Germany this year, there is consensus on supporting Africa’s efforts towards fertiliser manufacturing, which will bolster Africa’s independence in ensuring the continent’s food security,” said President Ramaphosa.

Malign Russian Activities Bill

President Ramaphosa raised concern about the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Bill, which is currently before the US Congress. President Ramaphosa said that if it became law, the Act would unfairly marginalise and punish African countries for exercising their sovereignty in their pursuit of development and economic growth.

President Ramaphosa emphasised the need for an urgent end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and emphasised the leadership role of the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres can provide in leading a peace process.

Health and capacitation of health systems

President Ramaphosa expressed appreciation for US support on health services capacitation and future pandemic preparedness. This includes the continued support for the PEPFAR programmes to combat HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis and the support during the Covid-19 pandemic. President Ramaphosa applauded the leadership role played by President Biden in assisting developing economies to strengthen their health systems and for support on the WTO TRIPS waiver on vaccine manufacturing.

United Nations Reforms and Multi-lateralism

Africa’s representation in key multilateral institutions was highlighted by President Ramaphosa. This includes the proposal for Africa’s admission through the African Union (AU) into the Group of 20 countries (G20).

“The absence of representation of 1.3 billion people from Africa in the United Nations Security Council remains a blight in the global democratic order,” said President Ramaphosa. Both leaders agreed on the need for broader reforms in the United Nations.

Building capacity of the State

President Ramaphosa tabled a proposal for a partnership with the US in supporting South Africa’s efforts to develop public servants, especially women. In this regard, South Africa’s National School of Government will work closely with leading American institutions in designing training programmes for South African public servants.

Ahead of the meeting with President Biden, President Ramaphosa met with United States Vice President Kamala Harris at her official residence, where they discussed women’s empowerment, health and security, partnership on technology and space exploration.

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