Foreign Affairs

Mining ally Canada sends governor-general for SA visit

Mining ally Canada sends governor for SA visit

South Africa's relations with Canada will come under the spotlight on Tuesday when President Jacob Zuma hosts the governor-general of Canada, David Johnston, for a state visit.

This will be Johnston's first visit to South Africa, which forms part of his tour of Africa – including stops in Ghana and Botswana. 

South Africa is Canada's second-largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.

Trade between the two countries doubled between 2000 and 2007, before declining by almost 20% in the latter part of 2007 due to pressures from the international financial crisis.

The ensuing global economic crisis continued to affect South Africa's trade with Canada, resulting in a decline throughout 2008 and 2009.

South Africa's exports to Canada stabilised to around R5 billion in 2010-2011, while Canadian exports to South Africa declined to R3bn. About two-thirds of South African exports to Canada relate to minerals and mining equipment, with agricultural and chemical products making up the rest.

Canada views South Africa as a gateway into the Southern African Development Community and the rest of Africa.

Canada has provided development assistance to South Africa since 1979. More than US$200 million in Canadian support has been contributed through the Canadian International Development Agency, with annual spending averaging about $14m.

Canada's involvement in South Africa focuses on the strengthening of service delivery, rural development and combating HIV/Aids.

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