Official visit to the Republic of Benin by His Excellency Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, draft joint communique
At the invitation of his Brother and Friend, His Excellency Dr. Boni YAYI, the President of the Republic of Benin, Head of State, Head of Government, His Excellency Mr. Jacob ZUMA, the President of the Republic of South Africa, heading an important delegation of his country, paid an official Visit to Benin on December 10 and 11, 2011.
On arriving at Cotonou Cardinal Bernardin GANTIN International Airport, President Jacob ZUMA and his delegation were welcomed by President Boni YAYI, surrounded by His Cabinet Members, the Representatives of the constitutional bodies of the State, the Members of the Diplomatic and Consular corps and a crowd of civilians who extended a warm and brotherly welcome to the distinguished guest.
The visit of the President of South Africa in Benin falls within the framework of strengthening the friendly and brotherly relations uniting the two countries.
His Excellency Dr. Boni YAYI seized the opportunity to renew to his guest the gratitude of Benin People and Government for the special attention and care that he himself and the delegation that accompanied him enjoyed during the State Visit he paid to South Africa from 23 to 26 November 2011.
During the visit, the two Heads of State held a series of discussions relating to bilateral cooperation between their two countries, the socio-political situation in Africa as well as in the rest of the world, in an atmosphere of fraternal understanding and mutual confidence.
The two Presidents confirmed their willingness to establish between the two countries a strategic partnership that the business community will be particularly facilitating, with a view to achieving in Benin, the implementation of development-oriented socio economic infrastructures in the following areas, among others:
renewable energies; and
In this regard, President Boni YAYI renewed his invitation to business men and investors of South Africa to come to Benin in order to discover the business opportunities availed by his country as well as the potential and assets of its economy.
6. The two Heads of State instructed the relevant Ministers of both countries to ensure a speedy implementation of the decisions taken during the bilateral discussions they had in Cape Town on November 24, 2011 pertaining, among others, to health, military cooperation, information and communication technologies, Trade, industry air and maritime transports.
During the visit, the two parties signed a Bilateral Agreement on Air Services between the Government of the Republic of Benin and the Government of the Republic of South Africa.
President Boni YAYI congratulated President Jacob ZUMA for the economic performances achieved and that made South Africa an emerging country, mainly since his accession to power in 2009. He wished that the progress made be continued.
As far as the international political issues are concerned, Presidents Boni YAYI and Jacob ZUMA exchanged views on the socio political crises and other armed conflicts threatening peace and stability in Africa and worldwide.
The two Heads of State discussed over the future of the continent and, in particular, the role of the African Union in the World. In this regard, they expressed their concerns over the increasing economic and political difficulties the Continent has to face and expressed the need for strengthening this Organization so as to enable it to better take up its new challenges.
10. The President of the Republic of Benin, His Excellency Dr. Boni YAYI conferred upon His Excellency Mr. Jacob ZUMA the nation highest distinction, The Grand Cross, in the National Order of Benin.
11. During his stay, President Jacob ZUMA visited the University of Abomey-Calavi where he was awarded the Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his steady commitment for the promotion of peace, stability and sustainable development in Africa and in the world.
At the end of his stay in Benin, President Jacob ZUMA expressed his gratitude to his Benin counterpart Dr. Boni YAYI, to his Government and to the brother nation of Benin for the warm and brotherly welcome and the authentically african hospitality extended to him and the delegation accompanying him.
His Excellency Mr. Jacob ZUMA renewed to His Excellency Dr. Boni YAYI, his invitation to come to South Africa, in particular within the framework of the commemoration of the ANC Centenary, scheduled for January 8, 2012.
The Head of State of Benin accepted that invitation with pleasure.