President Thabo Mbeki to Co-Host 2nd Session of the South Africa - DRC Bi-National Commission (BNC), Pretoria, South Africa Friday, 29 April 2005

Pretoria - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is expected to return to South Africa on Wednesday, 27 April 2005 following the successful launch of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership ahead of the scheduled Binational Commission between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo that will be co-hosted by President Thabo Mbeki and President Joseph Kabila on Friday, 29 April 2005 at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.

The BNC will be preceeded by a Ministerial session co-chaired by Minister Dlamini Zuma and her counterpart Foreign Minister Raymond Ramazani Baya at the Burgers Park Hotel in Pretoria on Thursday, 28 April 2005.

The BNC was established in August 2004, following President Thabo Mbeki's State Visit to Kinshasa earlier that year, with a view to consolidating strategic bilateral political and economic relations between South Africa and the DRC within the overall objective of working for the renewal of Africa and creating a better world.

Accordingly, during this session of the BNC, it is expected that the following agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoU), as part of efforts to cement ties between the two countries, will be signed:

Agreements
· Trilateral Agreement between SA-DRC-Sweden on public service and administration; and
· Co-operation between South Africa and the DRC in the field of agriculture;

Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)
· Relating to co-operation on capacity building for the Congolese National Police Force; and
· Relating to co-operation in the field of Customs and Excise.

The BNC is composed of the following sectoral commissions which serve as the motive force for strengthening the relations between the two countries: Politics and Governance, Defence and Security, Humanitarian and Social Affairs and Finance, Economy and Infrastructure.

Consequently, these commissions have so far generated the following agreements that have been signed at Ministerial level: Co-operation in the Fields of Health, Public Administration, Diplomatic Consultations, Economic Co-operation and the Promotion and Protection of Investments.

Under the co-ordination of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the following departments Home Affairs, Public Service and Administration, Provincial and Local Government, Defence, the South African Police Service and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) are engaging with their DRC counterparts on a series of issues.

These departments have already committed their personnel to be on the ground in the DRC to commence with the implementation of assistance programmes, which include:

· The Department of Home Affairs became actively involved in the DRC intervention programme focusing on the interim process of elections and long term intervention on immigration and population.
· The Department of Provincial and Local Government has established a technical task team to oversee and co-ordinate the implementation of the SA-DRC project with regard to local government.
· Public Service & Administration assistance with the conducting of a public service census, anti-corruption, the establishment of a National Institute of Public Administration institute as well as the rehabilitation of the building housing the Ministry in Kinshasa.
· South African National Defence Force - integration of DRC Armed Forces (FARDC);
· South African Police Service - training of members of the DRC Police on election security matters; and
· Assistance in the health sector.

President Mbeki's delegation is expected to include the Ministers Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Mosiuoa Lekota, Trevor Manuel, Sydney Mufamadi, Jeff Radebe, Alec Erwin, Zola Skweyiya, Thoko Didiza, Charles Nqakula, Mandisi Mphalwa, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Pumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Geraldine Fraser Moleketi.

It is expected that President Kabila will be accompanied by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation; Regional Co-operation; Finance; Planning, Public Service, Mining; Energy; Agriculture; Transport; Home Affairs; and Defence.

Bilateral Economic Relations between South Africa and the DRC

The DRC has, over the past six years, evolved as one of South Africa's main trading partners in the region.

Imports from the DRC increased from 19% in 1997 to 28% in 1999. South Africa has concluded a Promotion and Protection of Investment Agreement with the DRC and a MoU on Economic Co-operation.

SA Exports:

1998 R 1 048 465 000
1999 R 807 365 000
2000 R 875 667 000
2001 R 940 274 000
2002 R 1 631 139 000
2003 R 1 257 431 000
2004 R 1 387 566 000

SA Imports:
1998 R 25 042 000
1999 R 18 128 000
2000 R 9 579 000
2001 R 20 669 000
2002 R 17 738 000
2003 R 28 643 000
2004 R1 343 217 000

During the State Visit by President Thabo Mbeki to the Democratic Republic of Congo on the 13 - 14 January 2004, the President of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), Patrice Motsepe, signed a Co-operation Agreement with the DRC's Federation of Entrepreneurial Chambers. The Forum was inaugurated on 3 September 2004 in South Africa and will be inaugurated in the DRC in April 2005.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have already begun working on economic reforms and assistance programmes, and certain confidence indicators make a compelling business case for investment and growth in the DRC
.
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
? Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001
26 April 2005



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