Boris Johnson has invited South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to attend the forthcoming G7 summit in Cornwall as a guest.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mr Ramaphosa has played a “key role” in the response to the coronavirus crisis internationally and will attend the summit in the seaside resort of Carbis Bay.
US President Joe Biden is also expected at the event, which starts on June 11, as well as the other G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the EU.
Making the announcement, Mr Johnson’s spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “President Ramaphosa has led Africa’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and has played a key role on the issue internationally.
“South African scientists and researchers have contributed a huge amount to our understanding of the virus.”
It is currently unclear what quarantine arrangements will be in place for the South African leader, with the Prime Minister’s spokesman telling reporters that the intention is for the summit to be in-person.
“The summit in Cornwall will be the first time the seven leaders have met in person since the start of the pandemic and this will allow for open and frank discussions between leaders,” the spokesman added.
Those travelling from a “red list” country, which includes South Africa, are banned from entering England unless they are British or Irish citizens or have residency rights.
Anyone entitled to enter must stay in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days, but current guidelines for international conferences suggest that the president will be able to self-isolate where he is staying.
Mr Johnson has also invited Australia, India and South Korea to attend as guests at the summit, as he seeks to promote a green recovery from the pandemic.