Mandela urges Britons to invest in South Africa
Major pledges education aid
July 10, 1996
Web posted at: 2:15 p.m EDT (1815 GMT)
LONDON (CNN) -- British businesses, already the biggest outside investors in South Africa, were asked by President Nelson Mandela Wednesday to increase their spending in his country. For his part, Prime Minister John Major pledged £60 million (U.S.$93 million) in new British aid to South Africa.
Major, who said the aid was targeted particularly at improving standards of education, announced the donation during a four-day visit by Mandela, who addressed an investment conference in London earlier in the day.
"The United Kingdom is South Africa's largest foreign investor and I have every reason to image that that is going to remain the case," Major said as he and Mandela spoke to reporters outside the prime minister's official residence at 10 Downing Street.
Mandela praised the United Kingdom for being "an active supporter of the anti-apartheid struggle" in South Africa.
Adding to earlier aid
Britain provided South Africa with aid worth £60 million two years ago. The promise of additional aid "maintains the British government's support for the political and economic transition of South Africa," an official statement said.
At the investment conference, Mandela renewed his government's pledge to restructure and privatize public corporations. Major, also addressing the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference, told 500 potential investors that Britain would champion better access for South African goods to the European Union.
"Both the United Kingdom and South Africa are keen to develop the relationship that exists and make it closer yet and on the basis of the discussions that we have this morning, that is something we will readily be able to achieve," Major said.
South Africa and European Union
South Africa will go back to the European Union to re-open trade talks in August, aiming to get better access to European markets, South African Trade Minister Alec Erwin said Wednesday.
At a meeting described as "tense" in June, South African and European trade negotiators met in Brussels, where the EU demanded that a list of products which make up about 38 percent of South Africa's farm exports to the EU be excluded from the talks.
Trade sources say some of the EU members' objections might stem from South Africa's dual nature: it is still a developing country in some respects, though it is highly developed in others -- its stock market is the 10th largest in the world.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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