South Africa is Germany’s most important partner in sub-Saharan Africa. The key forum of German-South African cooperation is the Binational Commission – a high-level governmental dialogue that covers areas of mutual interest, such as economy, trade and investment, science and technology, development cooperation, defense, social and labor affairs as well as culture and environment.
The Binational Commission
The Binational Commission was created on the occasion of the state visit of Nelson Mandela to Germany in 1996. Taking place every two years, the last session of the Binational Commission was held in Berlin in November 2016 – and we are already looking forward to the next session scheduled to take place in South Africa in 2018.
Close relations between Germany and South Africa are also an important component of the EU-Africa-Partnership. Germany is committed – both nationally and within the EU-framework – to contributing to the efforts of the African Union (AU) and African regional organizations, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to further strengthen regional integration and fulfill their mandate in the areas of conflict prevention, peaceful conflict resolution, good governance, respect of human rights and social and economic development.
Africa: Focal point of Germany's foreign policy
Africa is a continent on the rise - its demographic development, its wealth of natural resources and growing middle class have the potential to open up gigantic growth markets in the near future. Political success as well as progress made in economic development demonstrate the impact of increasing African ownership. However, many African nations also continue to face great challenges and risks.
Germany is addressing these multifaceted opportunities and challenges with its comprehensive “Guidelines for Germany’s Africa Policy” based on core values and human rights as well as transparently defined interests. Germany is looking to cooperate with Africa on an equal footing and to our mutual benefit. Therefore, boosting African ownership - by putting the principle “African solutions to African challenges” into practice - is an important objective of Germany’s efforts.
Climate, Environment and Energy - Tackling climate change together
In the face of climate change, the German-South African Energy Partnership is a key instrument to promote our cooperation in the green economy, covering topics such as renewables and energy efficiency. Together, we established the South African Renewable Energy Technology Center (SARETEC) in Cape Town and built a photovoltaic solar park in Prieska (Northern Cape Region) as well as a solar cooling system for the MTN-headquarter in Johannesburg.
The German Embassy in Pretoria already puts ambitions to go greener into practice: To promote a more sustainable usage of energy, the Embassy is going solar with a total of 98 solar panels that cover around 20 percent of the embassy’s electricity usage. At the same time, the South African solar market is ready to take off: The sun shines on the South African soil for more than eight hours almost every day and the coastline covers an area of nearly 3000 kilometers – great conditions for solar and wind energy!