US ambassador Marks pours cold water on claims that Trump could cut aid to SA
US ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks says President Donald Trump has given her the mandate to support President Cyril Ramaphosa's administration.
Marks, a South African-born handbag designer, was sworn in as ambassador last month after she was confirmed in the US Senate.
She says the US Congress has made commitments to continue funding health programmes in South Africa.
As far as the aid to South Africa, Congress has given a commitment for 2020... I don't think that's [funding cuts] going to happen at all... I am confident in saying that the opposite is going to be what happens.Lana Marks, US ambassador to South Africa
We want to assist President Cyril Ramaphosa's new Cabinet in any way we can.Lana Marks, US ambassador to South Africa
Her top priorities are boosting trade and investment, fighting against HIV/Aids in the country and empowering youth and women.
According to Marks, 600 US companies currently operate in the country, contributing to 10% of SA's gross domestic product (GDP).
Those very same companies currently employ 200,000 South Africans, Marks explains.
On top of that, she says Trump has already spent $6.4 billion in HIV/Aids programmes in SA.
I have support across the board to greatly increased trade and investment in South Africa. There is so much opportunity.Lana Marks | US ambassador to South Africa
We are the only foreign power to South Africa that is assisting with our HIV/Aids programme in South Africa.Lana Marks, US ambassador to South Africa
Marks believes that she has a better perspective "of things of the ground" because she was born and raised in SA.
To have arrived in America as an immigrant, and to have achieved the American Dream, and then come back here is just phenomenal.Lana Marks, US ambassador to South Africa
She says she hopes that she can get Trump to visit South Africa soon.
Listen to the ambassador in conversation with senior political reporter Clement Manyathela:
Image: @USEmbassySA on Twitter