SINGAPORE - Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam hosted an official welcome lunch for a group of ministers and senior officials from seven Sub-Saharan African countries today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The African delegates from Angola, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are in Singapore for the Sub-Saharan Africa High Level Ministerial Exchange Visit (AHLMEV).
During his opening remarks, Minister Shanmugam explained that the AHLMEV was part of Singapore's efforts to enhance its foreign policy to engage friends and partners geographically distant from Singapore. Singapore had, for instance, played host to 12 countries from the Pacific Islands Forum in 2012, and 10 countries from the Caribbean Community in 2013.
Minister Shanmugam noted that Singapore's longstanding friendship with Africa dated back to almost 50 years ago, and engagement has grown steadily over the years.
The Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP) has trained over 7,700 African officials since its inception in 1992. Minister Shanmugam also announced that Singapore would continue to enhance its knowledge sharing by organising a series of customised courses for African senior officials on areas such as economic development, public administration, and sustainable urban development.
Minister Shanmugam also highlighted the Africa-Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) organised by IE Singapore as another important platform to grow economic awareness and partnership between Singapore and Africa. He welcomed the signing of several agreements, including the Singapore-Zimbabwe Air Services Agreement at the upcoming 3rd ASBF.
The African Ministers and Senior Officials visited URA and ITE College Central today. They will make a joint courtesy call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. They will also attend a dinner hosted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Tuesday.