In October 2018 Mexico and South Africa celebrated their Twenty-Fifth anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations, whereby a series of activities are carried out until September 2019. Both countries opened their respective embassies in 1994.
In October 2014, the Military and Air Attaché’s office at the Mexican Embassy was opened.
The Governments of South Africa and Mexico pursue democratic and progressive agendas that share a focus on inclusive socio-economic development and the value of diversity. We recognize the importance of bilateral, regional and international cooperation to achieve our development goals of eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities and unemployment, guided by our mutual commitment to the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, we will strengthen cooperation and exchange of best practices in fighting corruption, strengthening the rule of law, enhancing equality, and protecting and promoting human rights.
South Africa and Mexico are responsible global actors who are strongly committed to the rules-based international order. In this regard, we are convinced of the irreplaceable value of diplomacy and multilateralism in promoting global governance and actively contributing to the consensus-building processes which are essential to formulate international law and enhance respect for its provisions. We work both within and across regional groups.
Some of the most important encounters for South Africa-Mexico Bilateral Relations have taken place at a high diplomacy level.
Former President Felipe Calderón attend the World Cup held in South Africa as a special guest, leading the large group of Mexicans who supported the Mexican National Soccer Team, being themselves ambassadors of our country in South Africa.
Almost 10 years after the World Cup, from ordinary citizens to government officials fondly remember the Mexicans who visited South Africa in 2010.
Mexican Ex-President Enrique Peña Nieto, chaired the Mexican delegation that attended the memorial service of former South African President Nelson Mandela, held at the FNB Stadium on December 10, 2013.
In 2014 priority was given to follow up on the agreements reached during the First Meeting of the Bi-national Commission in 2010. The Subcommittees for Technical Cooperation – Scientific and Technological - and Economic Affairs held their session on September 26th, 2014 in Pretoria.
The Second Meeting of the Bi-national Commission was held on October 17th, 2014 in Pretoria. One of the agreements signed following the Bi-national Commission highlights the Action Plan Mexico-South Africa “Towards a Priority Relationship 2014-2016”, in which the priorities of the bilateral relations are detailed.
From 2015 to 2019 both countries have organized activities of cooperation agreed upon in the Bi-national Commission, particularly in the fields of health, natural heritage, traditional agriculture, gastronomy and other cultural activities.
In July 2015, the Chancellor of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), heir of the oldest University in the Americas and by itself the largest and most important of Mexico, signed general agreements with the University of Witwatersrand, the University of South Africa, the University of Pretoria and the University of Cape Town.
With the University of Witwatersrand, UNAM also signed an addendum to the general agreement which allowed the opening of the Centre for Mexican Studies in its Johannesburg campus in September 2018. The Centre for Mexican Studies aims to promote Spanish language, Mexican culture and student and researcher's mobility between Mexico and South Africa.
In August 2019, the Mexican Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Julián Ventura visited South Africa in the context of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations to meet with his colleagues at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to deepen our mutually beneficial bilateral political, economic and social relations. Additionally, Deputy Minister Ventura exchanged views with the academic and business communities.
Besides the healthy state of Mexico-South African relations, both countries also coincide on a wide range of issues on the multilateral agenda, which allows them to be constructive actors and bridge builders on global topics.
Mexican Ambassadors in South Africa have met with various partners within the South African government during their leadership. In this sense, strategic approaches were initiated to promote the G20 agenda during the Mexican Presidency (2012).
The G20 offered an additional platform to maintain contacts at the highest level. South Africa had an active participation during the Mexican Presidency of the G20, with the presence of the South African President, the Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), and the Minister of Finance, among others.
In the United Nations Mexico and South Africa’s major themes of coincidence are nuclear disarmament, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, protection and promotion of human rights, international peace and security, defense of multilateralism, climate change, support for global governance, free trade and democracy, to name a few.
One of the best examples of how the multilateral agenda contributed positively in strengthening bilateral relations between Mexico and South Africa was the visit of the then Vice-President Cyril Ramaphosa to Mexico (October 2015) to be handed over the chairmanship of the Open Government Partnership, an initiative that is related to the right of citizens to access the documents and proceedings of the government to allow for effective public oversight. Vice-President’s Ramaphosa visit also included a courtesy visit to the president of Mexico and a meeting with Mexican business representatives.
Another example of collaboration between Mexico and South Africa in global issues is the negotiation process of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which cannot be understood without the substantive progress registered in the Conferences of the Parties that took place in Cancún, Mexico (COP 16, December 2010) and Durban (COP 17, December 2011). The Delegations of both countries worked closely to reach agreements included in the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.
Parliamentary diplomacy is a fundamental foreign policy tool of the Mexican State for its foreign relations.
Regarding South Africa, the first formal contact between the Mexican Congress and the Pan-African Parliament (Parliamentary Body of the African Union whose headquarters are in Johannesburg) was held in April 2013 when Mexican Senators participated in the opening session of the Pan-African Parliament.
The second formal contact took place in August 2017, as the Mexican Senate’s President of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Gabriela Cuevas Barron, was the Special Guest at the opening session of the Pan-African Parliament to promote her candidature for the Inter-Parliamentary Union Presidency.
Mexico’s foreign policy has used public diplomacy as an important asset to deepen friendly relations with other countries. Public diplomacy or people to people (P2P) diplomacy include cultural activities, academic exchange, personal contact, interviews and use of social media.
In this regard the Embassies of Mexico to South Africa and South Africa to Mexico work together in promoting the knowledge of our respective countries. In South Africa the Embassy has promoted contemporary Mexican films with the exhibition of the film “ROMA” within the context of the International Women’s Day, Mexican gastronomy throughout various events with international recognized chef Alam Méndez Florián. The Embassy has also invited young interpreter Morgan Szymanski every two years since 2016 to perform and to share with his South African counterparts his project PRISMA, and artistic outreach programme aimed at disadvantaged children in remote villages in Mexico.
Working closely with the Centre for Mexican Studies (UNAM) the Embassy has also promoted Mexican traditional toys via an exhibition and has opened the Cultural Corner UNAM at its headquarters to promote Mexican Cultural among the people that visits the Embassy.