The Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, H. E. Mr. Geert Bourgeois, undertook a 11 day visit to South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique from 15 to 26 August 2017. The visit had a strong focus on the development cooperation between Flanders and these 3 partner countries, and included site visits to projects throughout the region. In addition, Mr. Bourgeois also met with a number of political leaders in the three countries and attended activities that showcase the wide variety of the cooperation with the Southern African region: be it academic cooperation, economic cooperation and trade, human rights, and so on.
On Tuesday 20 June, the bilateral consultation on development cooperation between Flanders and South Africa took place in Pretoria. The objective of the meeting, hosted by the International Development Cooperation unit of the National Treasury, was to present the context of development cooperation between Flanders and South Africa, and to discuss the state of affairs regarding the implementation of the second Country Strategy Paper (CSP II, 2012-2016). Furthermore, the four CSP II projects on SME development, social entrepreneurship and outcome-based performance instruments that are implemented by South African government were presented. In the second part of the meeting, the new Country Strategy Paper (2017-2021), that will focus on climate change and the green economy, was presented and discussed. Both partners were satisfied with the quality of the dialogue and the outcome of the meeting, which took place in a constructive atmosphere.
From 25 May to 1 June, the General Representation of the Government of Flanders had the pleasure of hosting Mr Sven Gatz, Flemish Minister for Culture, Media, Youth and Brussels Affairs in South Africa. The main focus of his visit was the cooperation between South Africa and Flanders on youth policy, a cooperation that is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Another emphasis of the visit was culture, and more particularly the ASSITEJ World Congress and Theatre Festival for Children and Young People in Cape Town.
Flemish Minister-president Geert Bourgeois and the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation of Botswana, Ms Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between both governments. The MoU confirms the intention of Flanders and Botswana to collaborate in the fields of agriculture and tourism. The preparation of this memorandum was decided upon by the former Minister-president during a visit to Botswana in 2013.
The Shukuma Mzansi International Community Arts Centres Conference 2017 took place from 22 to 24 March, and was hosted by the Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni, in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture. This conference, funded under the SA-EU Strategic Partnership Dialogue Facility, provides a forum for dialogue between various Irish, Flemish, French and South African community cultural centres. Topics that were covered include capacity building, programming, sourcing funding and policy implementation, and involved an exchange of ideas and strategies between the participants.