SA cements ties in Africa
President Jacob Zuma recently met with his counterparts from Senegal, Zimbabwe and Zambia further strengthening South Africa's relations with these countries.
South Africa and Zimbabwe signed several agreements during the Bi-National Commission (BNC), cochaired by President Zuma and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Tshwane recently.
The agreements are in the areas of energy, environment, information communications technologies and sports and recreation.
These are in 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 and outstanding ones 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 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 its operationalisation.
Benefits for SA and Zimbabwe
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 their people. President Zuma said to achieve this both countries must focus 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,” he 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.”
Fruitful talks with Zambia
President Zuma also had fruitful official talks with Zambian President Edgar Lungu during his state visit to Lusaka.
“It was an important visit for South Africa as our aim was to review and strengthen the existing strong bilateral and economic relations between the two nations and we are all pleased with the outcomes of our talks,” said President Zuma.
An important highlight of the visit was the elevation of the structured bilateral mechanism between South Africa and Zambia from the Joint Commission for Cooperation to a complete BNC.
The BNC will now be chaired by the two heads of state.
President Zuma said the BNC would ensure that the two countries meet annually at the level of heads of state.
“We believe that this would put the required impetus to the implementation of agreements.
“We have also, over the years, seen progressive expansion and deepening of our bilateral cooperation.To date, we have concluded over 20 agreements and
MoU covering a wide range of areas.”
The visit also provided an opportunity to discuss and agree on various issues, particularly economic cooperation in priority sectors such as agriculture and agroprocessing, mining and mineral beneficiation, energy, ICT connectivity, tourism, arts and culture, as well as the establishment of related industries and supportive infrastructure development.
President Zuma and President Lungu also addressed the Zambia-South Africa Business Forum held on the sidelines of the state visit to bolster economic relations between the two countries both in the public and private sector.
“As we elevate our relations at government level, it is very important for the business sector from both countries to enhance cooperation to ensure inclusive economic growth that will liberate our people from poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“I was happy to have an opportunity to address the Business Forum earlier and we gave the private sector a clear directive that both countries are open for business.”
During the visit, President Zuma officially launched the Oliver Tambo National Heritage Site to honour and celebrate the legacy and centenary year of Oliver Tambo.
While exiled from South Africa during the apartheid era,Tambo lived in Zambia from 1965 to 1991.
Senegalese President visits SA
Senegalese President Macky Sall and President Zuma discussed ties between the two countries during President Sall's state visit to South Africa.
Speaking after a meeting with President Sall in Cape Town, President Zuma said the main objective of the visit was to review the bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries, reflect on the progress made and discuss new areas of cooperation.
“During our discussions we focused on a wide range of
President Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe recently co-chaired the Bi-National Commission.
President Jacob Zuma and Zambian President Edgar Lungu exchange greetings during a state visit to Lusaka.