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Hlengiwe Cele 
Ninth South Africa Sweden Bi-national Commission Sweden, Stockholm

South Africa and Sweden have jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Water Resources Management as well as a Letter of Intent on Environmental Protection and Climate Change. This agreement was entered into during the 9th South Africa Sweden Bi-National Commission, held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 19 to 20 October 2015.

Water resources management, environmental protection and climate change are areas that are critical in advancing co-operation, capacity building and knowledge-sharing for South Africa’s socio-economic development, as highlighted by the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his speech at the event.   

 The signing of the MoU comes after the South African delegation, with specialists in the fields of water, energy, science & technology and economic development, accompanied by senior political officials, entered into robust discussions with the Swedish teams in order to come up with concrete areas of potential co-operation between the two countries.

These discussions recommended the need to strengthen co-operation as represented in Committees on Political Affairs, Economic Affairs, Science and Technology Affairs, and Environment, Water and Energy.

The objective of the MoU is to establish a framework for co-operation, enabling scientific and technology exchange, capacity building and exchanges of experience and knowledge between South Africa and Sweden within the field of water resources management. This shall be done on the basis of sustainable development in an integrated manner.

Additionally, the MoU extends the Swedish-sponsored full scholarship programme until 2021.The programme provides an opportunity for South African students to take part in Swedish sponsored post-graduate programmes in various fields of study.

While delivering his speech Deputy President Ramaphosa said, “Our partnership should lead to greater market access for South African goods into Sweden in order to address the vast trade deficit which is currently in favour of Sweden. The Department of Trade and Industry has researched and identified a number of South African products, such as wine, and we believe Sweden will find our offerings attractive”.

Of interest to this collaboration is the understanding expressed in the pursuit of the Blue Economy and the importance of job creation, which is currently a priority for South Africa. 

Ms Eiman Karar, Executive Manager for Water Resource Management at the Water Research Commission said, “The agreement is broad enough to include much potential collaboration. The water resources management collaboration will be on water pricing, controlling leaks at municipal level, transboundary river cooperation and gender”.  

Deputy President Ramaphosa expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Swedish Government for the excellent arrangements and for their hospitality. A special word of gratitude was extended to Ms Åsa Romson, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sweden, for allowing this collaboration to take place.  

Article compiled by Stakeholder Liaison, Mrs Hlengiwe Cele  email: hlengiwec@wrc.org.za


The South African delegation at the signing ceremony in Stockholm
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