Due to this, the United States policies towards South Africa were altered; and, overall, the relation between South Africa and the United States was strained until the end of apartheid rule. Following the Apartheid Era, the United States and South Africa have maintained bilateral relations.
Since 2004, the U.S. government has invested more than $7.25 billion in assistance through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). This assistance bolsters South Africa’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and helps ensure that all South Africans live longer and healthier lives. PEPFAR investments have contributed to strengthening health security by supporting human resources for health, as well as building clinical capacity in support of the COVID-19 response. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs strengthen small- and medium-sized enterprises, create employment, improve training and job skills, promote basic education, combat gender-based violence, and promote HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and treatment. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has provided almost $75 million in COVID-related assistance to South Africa and has provided, in partnership with COVAX, almost 8 million vaccine doses.
Bilateral Economic Relations
South Africa is the largest U.S. trade partner in Africa, with a total two-way goods trade of $17.8 billion in 2019. Approximately 600 American businesses operate in South Africa, and many of those use South Africa as a regional headquarters. South Africa qualifies for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act as well as the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences trade preference program. Both governments engage in frequent discussions to increase opportunities for bilateral trade and investment and optimize the business climate. The two nations signed an amended Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2012. In addition, South Africa belongs to the Southern African Customs Union, which signed a Trade, Investment, and Development Cooperative Agreement (TIDCA) with the United States in 2008. The United States and South Africa have a bilateral tax treaty that prevents double taxation and fiscal evasion.
South Africa’s Membership in International Organizations
South Africa’s principal foreign policy objectives are to encourage regional economic integration in Africa, promote the peaceful resolution of conflict in Africa, and use multilateral bodies to ensure that developing countries’ voices are heard on international issues. South Africa and the United States belong to many of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, G-20, and World Trade Organization. South Africa is also a member of BRICS and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). South Africa participates as a key partner in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Enhanced Engagement program.