Joint Communiqué issued on the occasion of the inaugural session of the South Africa-Congo Joint Commission for Cooperation, 28 October 2010, Cape Town, South Africa
The inaugural session of the South Africa-Congo Joint Commission for Cooperation was held on 28 October 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. In accordance with the General Cooperation Agreement the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC), this session was co-chaired by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Congo, Mr Basile Ikouebe.
The inaugural session was preceded by a meeting of senior government officials representing a wide spectrum of government departments and state-owned entities of the two governments, held on 26-27 October 2010 in Pretoria.
After reviewing the state of bilateral cooperation between their countries, the two Ministers noted that there is an immense potential that needs to be explored in order to maximize the opportunities that exist between the two countries. In this regard, the Ministers endorsed the recommendations of the Senior Officials which seek to increase the volume of two-way trade and intensify cooperation in the areas of air transport, maritime and rail transportation, agriculture and fisheries, minerals and energy, education and health, public service, arts and culture, communication, defence and security, and immigration matters.
The Ministers noted with satisfaction that South African Airways (SAA) will soon commence operations between Johannesburg and Pointe Noire. This service will increase interaction between business people, thereby contributing to increased trade between the two countries. As a further measure of encouraging trade, they urged officials to finalise negotiations on the draft agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation.
The Ministers welcomed the signing of the Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Fisheries. They expressed the view that this Agreement will contribute towards the development of the Agricultural Industry in both countries, and assure long-term food security. In the same vein, the Ministers expressed their appreciation for the signing of the Twining Agreement between Steve Biko Academic Hospital of South Africa and the University Hospital of the Republic of Congo which will contribute towards the provision of improved health care services.
With regards to regional and global matters of mutual concern, the two Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the promotion of peace and security in the African Continent guided by Constitutive Act of the African Union as well as other relevant Protocols of this august body, and the Charter of the United Nations. Minister Ikouebe congratulated South Africa for its election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the period 2011-12. In turn, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane thanked the government of Congo for the support it lent to South Africa, and reassured her counterpart that South Africa will use its seat to advance the interests of Africa.
Concerning the situation in Sudan, the two Ministers wished the people of Sudan well as they embark on the last journey towards the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), by way of referendum to be held in the South of Sudan in January 2011.
The two Ministers agreed to reinforce ongoing efforts aimed at promoting development within the framework of Africa’s socio-economic development programme, the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). In this regard, they underscored the implementation of infrastructure development programmes.
At the conclusion of the JCC, Minister Ikouebe expressed his delegation’s gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. In turn, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane expressed her appreciation for the positive and constructive manner in which the JCC deliberations were undertaken and thanked her Congolese counterpart and his delegation for their cooperation.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane accepted an invitation from Minister Ikouebe to co-chair the first session of the JCC to be held in 2012 in Brazzaville.
Issued by the Secretariat
South Africa-Congo JCC
28 October 2010