South Africa to Co-Chair South Africa – Cuba Joint Consultative Mechanism, 23-24 June 2009, Havana

Pretoria – Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim will lead the South African delegation to the 7th South Africa – Cuba Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) Meeting scheduled for 23 -24 June 2009 in Havana, Cuba.

The 7th JCM will make provision for the two countries to address issues of international concern that include among others:

  • Current global economic crisis
  • South Africa’s  Candidature of Ambassador Abdul Minty to the IAEA
  • UN Resolutions with regard to Cuba

  • Outcomes of the Durban Review Conference

  • Cuba’s tenure as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The 7th South Africa Cuba Joint Consultative Mechanism Meeting takes place against the background of solid bilateral and fraternal relations established during the past 15 years of official diplomatic relations.

In addition the JBC, established in 2001, is a coordinating forum for the periodic review of bilateral cooperation projects, and the extension of cooperation to new areas.

Through the JBC, 198 South African students have completed their 5-year medical studies in Cuba and have since graduated and 83 are in the process of completing their internship training in South Africa. There are, at present, 311 students studying medicine in Cuba. Furthermore 110 Cuban doctors are deployed at several South African provincial hospitals and 24 Professors are teaching at the Faculty of Medicine of Walter Sisulu University.

Almost 300 Cuban professionals are attached to government Departments such as Public Works, Housing and Water Affairs and are deployed in various provinces throughout South Africa. 

Similarly, the Department of Social Development, through the Masupatsela Youth Pioneer programme, is working with the Cuban Ministry of Labour and Social Security for collaboration focusing on the training of, especially unemployed youth as social workers and community development workers.

Trade relations

Although bilateral trade remains low, there has been a steady increase in trade over the past few years. In 2008, South Africa exported goods to Cuba to the value of R81, 979,457 and Cuba exported goods to the value of R15, 741,495 during the corresponding period. The two countries are working at a strategy both within JCM and JBC to address the trade gaps.

Recently, an SA business delegation, led by Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoyce Mabudafhasi, was in Cuba from 15 – 19 June 2009 to boost economic and trade relations between South Africa and Cuba. The visit was organized by the African National Congress-aligned Progressive Business Forum (PBF) and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce.

Issued by Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag x152
Pretoria, 0001

21 June 2009.

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