SA helps fund African oceans economy project
South Africa to make a massive investment in oceans economy projects on the continent
South Africa will allocate US$50 000 to projects in support of African oceans economy projects under the African Union's 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS).
South Africa recently assumed the chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), an international organisation consisting of 21 coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean. IORA's aim is to promote trade liberalisation and trade cooperation between the member states, with activities focusing on trade facilitation, investment promotion and economic cooperation.
“As is the tradition when assuming the IORA Chair, South Africa will make a financial contribution of US$250
000, in the form of US$150 000 to assist in the implementation of the IORA Action Plan 2017-2021, particularly for the establishment of the new working groups and the core group,” said Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
The African agenda is a prominent feature of South Africa's foreign policy, and as such the country will make US$100 000 available for the IORA Special Fund for pilot development projects aimed at improving the lives of IORA's poorest people.
“Half of this amount (US$50 000) will be allocated to projects in Africa in support of African oceans economy projects under the 2050 AIMS,” the Minister added.
She was addressing the IORA 17th Meeting of the Council of Ministers, which was held in Durban in October.
South Africa assumed the IORA chair during the meeting.
The Minister said the meeting was successfully used to advance South Africa's priorities for its time as IORA chair from 2017 to 2019, including the AIMS and Agenda 2063.
She noted that a country's foreign policy is firmly premised on its domestic priorities, so South Africa expects great dividends from linking the
IORA Blue Economy to its domestic Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy initiative.
The council also appointed South Africa's Dr Nomvuyo Nokwe, the country's former High Commissioner to Mauritius, as the next SecretaryGeneral of IORA.
Dr Nokwe will succeed Ambassador KV Bhagirath of India, who will conclude his term as Secretary-General of the association at the end of the year.
“I wish to thank Ambassador Bhagirath for his sterling leadership of the secretariat over recent years, and we wish Dr Nokwe the best in her new position.We assure her of our support,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
South Africa is one of the founding members of the IORA.
Half of the world's trade travels through this region and IORA's vast coastline holds two thirds of world's oil reserves, and one third of bulk cargo traffic and produces goods and services worth over
US$1 trillion, with intra-IORA trade amounting to some US$777 billion.
South Africa's theme for its tenure is ‘Uniting the Peoples of Africa, Asia, Australasia and the Middle East through Enhanced Cooperation for Peace, Stability and Sustainable Development'.
As chair, South Africa has committed to further regional cooperation in areas such as the blue economy, women's economic empowerment, SME promotion, youth empowerment and cooperation among academics, and in science and technology.