Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African President, and his wife Tshepo Motsepe will make an official state visit to Britain, Buckingham Palace. This would be the first such visit after the passing of Queen Elizabeth. Before him, three former South African Presidents named Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, and Jacob Zuma had been the state guests. Britain’s invitation to the President in a very brief span after US President Joe Biden’s hosting reflects Britain’s utmost desire to strengthen the latter’s flagging leadership.
Trade and Investments will feature as a strong pillar of the visit. However, the economy of Britain has been hit hard by the cumulative effects of Covid, the War in Ukraine, Rising Inflation, the impact of Brexit, and the transfer of the leadership from Boris Johnson to Liz Truss. Moreover, the two leaders will also likely discuss the JETP (Just Energy Transition Partnership). In this agreement, countries like the UK, US, France, Germany, and European Union have pledged to provide $8.5 billion to South Africa to assist the government in its transition from total dependence on Coal-fired electricity toward renewable sources of energy. Britain also exported goods and services to South Africa worth 4 billion pounds, and imports were around 8 billion pounds. Britain is the fourth largest export market of South Africa.
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South Africa’s non-aligned stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine has also been a cause of concern for Western nations like the UK and the USA. The truss may likely raise the issue in front of Ramaphosa. But the former countries also worried that if they became too critical of Ramaphosa, he might get slipped into Russia and China’s camps. South Africa is already a member of these countries in the BRICS bloc. Ramaphosa-Biden’s meeting also reflected the apparent urgency of the two leaders to use their influence to make way for the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis. The UK and South Africa share a bonhomie; the former always supported and boosted the latter at international forums.
According to the international relationists, the visit is an attempt to boost the dipping credibility amidst the scandals he faces back home. He has alleged money laundering, bribery, kidnapping, and the theft of $4 million in cash found at his Phala Phala game ranch in the northern part of the country. He refused to accept the allegations and showed a willingness to stand for the second term in 2024’s national elections as ANC leader and President.
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