UK and SA trade high on the agenda

2 Aug 23 | Chamber News

The annual gala dinner held at Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London, was an extraordinary evening and the SA Chamber UK was honoured to represent the organisation at such a prestigious event. Mansion House is a truly splendid building in every sense of the word.

Its walls are adorned with fine art and portraits of significant historical figures from its 265-year history, while the Egyptian Hall features gilt-topped stone columns, inspired by Roman architecture from Egypt, overlooking statues and busts around the sides of the room which date back to 1864. The beautifully ornate ceiling leads, at each end, to magnificent stained-glass windows.

We are truly honoured that our Annual Gala Dinner is becoming a new tradition in a place so steeped in history, right at the heart of the City of London. Alderman Sir William Russell, who served as the 692nd Lord Mayor of the City of London from 2019 to 2021, began his welcoming address by recalling the dinner held at the Guild Hall last year during the state visit of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the first in the reign of King Charles III, describing the relationship between South Africa and the UK as “one that continues to be vitally important for both countries”. Referring to the screening of Sir Nick Stadlen’s remarkable documentary on the Rivonia Treason Trial, “Life is Wonderful,” which the City of London hosted with the chamber via Zoom in November 2020, he noted that many of the key figures of the trial, including Nelson Mandela, had been awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

The South African Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko “Nkhensani” Kubayi, in her speech emphasised the importance of trade between the two countries. She elaborated on the government’s structural reform programme and developing partnerships with the private sector to deliver stronger infrastructure.

South African High Commissioner to the UK, HE Kingsley Mamabolo, emphasised the significance of the president’s visit in 2022 and further spoke about the importance of tackling climate change and continuing to develop trade, socio-economic ties, innovation, and investment between South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The keynote speaker, Andrew Selous MP, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to South Africa and Mauritius, explained the role of a trade envoy in promoting trade and investment and said that if he and the current government was re-elected, he hoped to continue to serve in the same role, which he has held for the last five-and-a-half years. His ambition, he said, was to continue to promote trade and investment, and in return promote job creation and the reduction of poverty.

He shared a couple of examples of collaboration between the two countries which includes a £5 billion investment in green energy in the form of an ammonia plant in the Coega Special Economic Zone, which uses hydrogen to create fertiliser and fuel, and Anglo American’s investment in the decarbonisation of mining transport using hydrogen assets.

Roger Raatgever, on behalf of Finance Isle of Man, the lead sponsors for the event, talked about the healthy South African population on the island. No evening is complete without entertainment and Nic and Peal Vani made sure that the mood was set for an evening of great networking.

Sharon Constançon, Chairperson of SA Chamber UK, said she was looking forward to the 2024 dinner which will be hosted by the incoming Lord Mayor Alderman Michael Mainelli, who was present at this year’s dinner and has been a friend and supporter of the chamber for the past few years.

Thank you to our sponsors:
Platinum Sponsor Finance Isle of Man
Silver Sponsors:
• Valufin
• Barclays
• Genius Boards
• Hogan Lovells
• Absa
• Standard Bank
• Anglo American
• Exceed Photographer: Robynne Van der Vegte Videographer: Hazel Thompson Printer of the gala souvenir programme:
Leopard Print.

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