South Africa's Honorary Consul in Ho Chi Minh City Do Thi Kim Lien on Tuesday symbolically gifted five charity houses to the Vietnam People's Navy at an event to mark the 23rd anniversary of South African Freedom Day (April 27, 1994 – April 27, 2017).
The houses are expected to be built for policy beneficiaries of the Navy assigned to protect the sovereignty of the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in the upcoming months.
The VND350 million (more than US$15,000) sponsorship for the houses was provided by the Vu A Dinh Education Fund and the "For the beloved Hoang Sa - Truong Sa" Club represented by former Vietnamese vice-president Truong My Hoa, the South African Consulate General said in a press release on Wednesday.
"South Africa has always had an important place in Vietnam's general policy towards the region, but due to geographic distances and language barriers, the potential for bilateral cooperation has not been fully exploited," Honorary Consul of the Republic of South Africa Lien said at the meeting.
According to Lien, under efforts to increase trade and investment promotion activities between the two countries, the Vietnamese business community has begun to develop a better understanding of South Africa while the South African business community comprehends much more about Vietnam.
The South African government has many incentives to support Vietnamese enterprises with better access to South Africa, and the entire African continent in general, she added.
Also, the demand for goods from Vietnam is increasing, as noted by South Africa’s rising imports of popular Vietnamese commodities such as footwear, textiles, coffee, rice, precious stones and metals, wood, and wooden products.