South Africa’s neutral stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine will be a major topic of conversation during a meeting between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Speaking to media in Pretoria, ahead of their private meeting on Tuesday, the two leaders said they would also consider developments on the African continent.
Scholz’s visit comes as the war in Ukraine has been raging for three months and is causing oil and food prices to rise around the world, including in Africa.
South Africa has taken a neutral stance on the conflict, refusing to condemn Russia’s actions and calling for dialogue between the two countries.
Scholz said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an important issue to discuss with his South African counterpart.
Another topic to be discussed is South Africa’s intention to reduce its dependence on coal-fired power plants.
Germany is among the countries that pledged up to $8.5 billion at the COP26 climate change conference last year to help South Africa reduce its reliance upon coal to generate electricity.
So far there have been no announcements of actual payments of those funds to South Africa.
South Africa is currently suffering nationwide rolling power cuts because its coal-fired power stations are unable to generate adequate amounts of electricity.
The promised funds will help the country, which has Africa’s most developed economy, to shift to more environmentally friendly energy, Ramaphosa said.
Scholz arrived in South Africa after visiting Senegal and Niger, where he expressed Germany’s interest in gas exploration opportunities in Senegal and his country’s long-term military and financial assistance to Niger.