Canada–South Africa relations

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Canada–South Africa relations
Map indicating locations of Canada and South Africa


South Africa

Canada–South Africa relations are the bilateral relations between the countries of Canada and South Africa. Both countries are former British colonies and share similar cultures in terms of sports and language. Both countries are members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

It is estimated that as of 2006 around 38,310 South Africans resided in Canada.[1]


Canada established its diplomatic relations with South Africa in 1939, along with other nations, due to the outbreak of World War II. Canada actively encouraged the end of Apartheid in South Africa and the countries have had normal relations since then. The Constitution of South Africa was, in part, inspired by the Constitution of Canada, particularly the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Former South African President Nelson Mandela made an official state visit to Canada in September 1998 and spoke at the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa. Mandela was made an honorary Canadian citizen, during his second visit to Canada. A 2003 visit by President Thabo Mbeki in November 2003, ended with the signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent to strengthen relations between the two countries.

Canada has assisted South Africa in the areas of development (over $200 million) and the fight against AIDS in South Africa and to strengthen services provided by the Government of South Africa.[2]

Bilateral consultations between the two countries are held annually typically focusing on issues relating to foreign policy, trade, defence and economic development.[3]

As of 2014/15 Canadian government assistance to South Africa focuses on four issues:

  1. Improved service delivery with a focus on the poor
  2. Institutional capacity building of South African government and civil society organisations
  3. Improve management of natural resources
  4. Promote a high level of skills, ethics and integrity within government.


In 2014 South African exports to Canada totaled US$1,104,140,558 whilst Canadian exports to South Africa totaled US$439,256,338 resulting in a trade surplus in South Africa's favour of US$664,884,220.[3] Trade between the two countries totalled $1.8 billion in 2008. Both countries are members of the Cairns Group.

South Africa is a major access point for Canada to access the African market. Canada is an important investor in the South African economy with Canadian companies having investments in a range of South African industries including transportation, food processing, hospitality, information and communication technologies, and instrumentation sectors with the largest focus of Canadian investment being in the mineral and mining sector.[3]


  1. ^ "How many South Africans have left the country?". Politics Web. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b c Clarke, Anneke. "FOREIGN RELATIONS SPOTLIGHT Canada". The Diplomatic Society. Retrieved 28 August 2015.