SA, Zim­babwe sign more agree­ments

Vuk'uzenzele - - General - Bathandwa Mbola

South Africa and Zim­babwe have signed sev­eral agree­ments, which will fur­ther im­prove re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

The agree­ments are in the ar­eas of en­ergy, en­vi­ron­ment, in­for­ma­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies and sports and re­cre­ation.

They were signed dur­ing the sec­ond ses­sion of the Bi-Na­tional Com­mis­sion (BNC), co-chaired by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe in Tsh­wane re­cently.

Th­ese new agree­ments are an ad­di­tion to the 40 bi­lat­eral agree­ments and mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) be­tween the two coun­tries.

In a com­mu­nique is­sued af­ter the bi­lat­eral talks, the two pres­i­dents di­rected that th­ese agree­ments be fully im­ple­mented, while out­stand­ing ones should be fi­nalised.

The BNC also saw the es­tab­lish­ment of a Joint Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee whose man­date, among other things, will be to de­velop the nec­es­sary le­gal frame­work for the es­tab­lish­ment of the One-Stop Bor­der Post (OSBP) at Beit­bridge bor­der post.

The two heads of state reaf­firmed the strate­gic im­por­tance of the project – at the busiest road bor­der post in Africa - and di­rected the rel­e­vant min­is­ters to fast­track the project.

The two coun­tries stand to ben­e­fit im­mensely from the smooth move­ment of peo­ple and goods, har­monised pro­cesses and im­proved in­fra­struc­ture, which will come with the in­tro­duc­tion of this project.

They also com­mit­ted to use their bi­lat­eral re­la­tions to push for the eco­nomic eman­ci­pa­tion of the peo­ple. In or­der to achieve this, Pres­i­dent Zuma, who was joined by sev­eral cab­i­net min­is­ters, said the fo­cus be­tween the two coun­tries must be on the trans­for­ma­tion of the econ­omy.

“The di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of our economies and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion will ul­ti­mately put the re­gion on the right path as the global econ­omy con­tin­ues to play its own role,” the Pres­i­dent said.

The two heads of state re­it­er­ated their com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing and strength­en­ing the eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries by fa­cil­i­tat­ing trade and re­mov­ing im­ped­i­ments con­strain­ing bi­lat­eral trade and in­vest­ments.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said he was happy to join hands with South Africa to en­sure this trans­for­ma­tion.

“This strate­gic part­ner­ship is an in­stru­ment for achiev­ing the pro­found trans­for­ma­tion of our coun­tries’ economies, so let us join hands.”

Re­gional po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity

The heads of state also dis­cussed re­gional and in­ter­na­tional is­sues of mu­tual con­cern, reaf­firm­ing their com­mit­ment to work­ing to­gether in pur­suit of sus­tain­able peace, sta­bil­ity, and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Re­gard­ing the re­gion, they par­tic­u­larly dis­cussed the po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Le­sotho and the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo (DRC), where they urged the two coun­tries to im­ple­ment the rel­e­vant SADC de­ci­sions and rec­om­men­da­tions.

On poli­cies, the BNC reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to the con­ti­nen­tal in­te­gra­tion pro­cesses and called for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and its Ac­tion Plan.

South Africa and Zim­babwe reaf­firmed their sup­port and com­mit­ment to Agenda 2030 for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment, adopted by the United Na­tions in 2015.

The third ses­sion of the BNC will be held in Harare in 2018.

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