The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Nomaindiya Mfeketo, will lead a South African Government delegation to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, where she is expected to co-chair the 3rd meeting of the South Africa-Vietnam Partnership Forum in Hanoi on 18 and 19 June 2015 with her Vietnamese counterpart, Mr Vu Hong Nam.

The meeting follows on the 2nd meeting of the Forum held in Pretoria in August 2012.

The objectives of the meeting are:

1. To review the scope of bilateral relations between South Africa and Vietnam;

2. To redefine and refocus on the priority areas of bilateral co-operation in order to maximise existing opportunities; and

3. To reaffirm the excellent relations and friendship that exist between South Africa and Vietnam.

During the meeting, bilateral discussions between the two delegations will focus on political and security matters of common concern, issues related to environmental affairs, including cooperation in the areas of forestry resources and biodiversity protection and promotion, cooperation in the field of justice and increased trade and investment between the two countries.

Besides the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Defence; Environmental Affairs; Justice and Constitutional Development and Trade and Industry will participate in the deliberations with their Vietnamese counterparts.

The relationship between South Africa and Vietnam goes back many years before the formal establishment of diplomatic relations in December 1993, to the Bandung Conference in 1955. It is therefore very appropriate for the 3rd meeting of the Partnership Forum to take place as Asia and Africa celebrate the 60th anniversary of that landmark conference.

Since the formal establishment of relations between the two countries, a solid bilateral relationship has developed between South Africa and Vietnam, characterized by strong government-to-government relations that include cooperation at many levels, bilateral as well as multilateral.

Total trade between South Africa and Vietnam has grown substantially over the past five years and amounted to R13.4 billion in 2014, more than three times the total of R3.9 billion in 2011.

There remains considerable potential for increased economic exchanges with Vietnam, one of the fastest growing economies in the world which has halved poverty over the past 20 years. This is one of the main focus areas of the activities of the Partnership Forum.