Future lies in true cooperation: South African Rep.

Partnership at municipal level between Taiwan, South Africa makes progress possible

Representative Seraki Matsebe

Representative Seraki Matsebe (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Through international collaboration and a belief in forging bonds with partners, South Africa is ready to rebound from a period of political turbulence and economic downturn.

South Africa, now the second-largest economy in Africa, is striving to recover from the recession. As the host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and a solid proponent of democracy, the country still owns its strength and knows how to amplify it.

According to the liaison office of South Africa in Taiwan, there are around 8,000 South Africans living in the the country; registered South African businesses have hit 400. On the other hand, more than 1,200 Taiwanese companies are currently operating in South Africa, and the country is responsible for around 45 percent of the total trade that Taiwan has with the African continent.

Leading the liaison office for more than three years, Representative, Seraki Matsebe has a goal to strengthen economic and cultural ties between the two nations.

With the office's efforts, the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and Taiwan's Taoyuan airport are discussing the possibility of holding a joint training program to boost the efficiency of the former. Moreover, as one of the busiest ports in South Africa, Durban Harbor could learn some tricks from Kaohsiung Harbor in southern Taiwan, including its use of smart technology, which is critical for organizing containers, Matsebe said.

Taiwan's advanced medicine is also a valuable asset to be shared. The medical school in South Africa's University of Limpopo has expressed an interest in working with Taipei Medical University on academic programs that grant students access to the latest developments in medical technology.

Culturally, Taiwanese ought to explore and learn more about African music, especially through world-famous South African artists, such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

"Taiwanese are extremely humble and willing to help others...That is why the cooperation between sister cities in Taiwan and South Africa will benefit both sides, for their commerce and education," Matsebe added.

More than two decades after the end of apartheid, South Africa is a country that believes in one race, Matsebe said. That is why he believes the partnership, which surpasses nationalities and political barriers, will bring real progress.