The Embassy of Kuwait in Pretoria hosted the 63rd Anniversary of the National Day and the 33rd Anniversary of the Liberation Day of the State of Kuwait on 23 February 2024 at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria. H.E. Ambassador Salem Rashed Al-Shebli warmly welcomed guests to the event and conveyed congratulations to His Highness Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Dr. Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Prime Minister, members of government, and the people of The State, wishing them more progress and continued prosperity, peace, and security.

This year marks an important milestone in the journey of the Republic of South Africa, coinciding with the South African celebration of the 30th anniversary of democracy and the 30th anniversary of the distinguished bilateral relations between the State of Kuwait and The Republic of South Africa. Since 1976, the relationship between Kuwait and South Africa has grown. Kuwait has been promoting friendship with South Africa and has undertaken numerous projects to support the South African people during the apartheid-related disaster. This has led to the two countries becoming close allies due to mutual interests and a common orientation in promoting peace and conflict resolution. There will be more cooperation by continuing joint efforts to strengthen this friendly relationship. As of January 2024, Kuwait commences its membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the period 2024 to 2026. This election came from the belief of the member states of the United Nations in recognizing efforts made by Kuwait in the fields of Human Rights and its commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter.

On one hand, it reflects the confidence of the international community and the State of Kuwait in this field and, on the other hand, the extent of the commitment of Kuwait to promote and respect human rights.

H.E. Salem Rashed Al-Shebli said:

“We look forward to working with South Africa during its membership in the council to consolidate and to enhance the respect of human rights for all people of the world.”

Bilateral trade has steadily increased over the past five years from around 74 million to more than 700 million dollars and continues to grow, as well as Kuwaiti investment being established in South Africa. In addition to that, Kuwait’s commitment to supporting developmental projects in the least developed country is through the work of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. This fund assists and supports the developing and least developed countries in achieving their goals through financial and technical aid.

Representing the government of South Africa, Professor Somadoda Fikeni, Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, congratulated The State of Kuwait on their newly elected government, as well as their National Day and Liberation Day.

On the global front, the two countries have worked closely to address some of the major challenges facing the world, including climate change, global poverty, inequality, and promoting international peace and security.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement area is one of the flagship projects of the agenda 2063 of the African Union.

In the bilateral context, South Africa endeavors to strengthen economic cooperation in a mutually beneficial manner. South Africa offers many opportunities for investors seeking sustained financial returns, particularly in the sectors of tourism infrastructure, agriculture, and mining.

In 2023, the total bilateral trade stood at 5.9 billion Rands and included products such as minerals, chemicals, live animals, as well as agricultural and processed foodstuffs.

“Kuwait remains an important investment and trading partner for South Africa in the Middle East; Kuwait is also a significant player in the international and energy security sector.”

Toasting to the State of Kuwait and the bright friendship and prosperity, the event ended with the cutting of the cake.

by Marion Kate