International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to undertake an Official Visit to the Republic of Mali on 21 June 2011

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, will undertake an official visit to the Republic of Mali from, 21 to 22 June 2011.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane’s visit to Mali comes within the context of strengthening and deepening bilateral and economic relations between the two countries. This will be her first visit to Mali, accordingly it will give her an opportunity to interact and stimulate dialogue with her counterpart, on issues of common interest and mutual benefit.

Full diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on 16 May 1994 – after South Africa’s first democratic elections. During a visit by the then Minister of Foreign Affairs to Mali in December 2000, a Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC) was established. The first meeting of the JCC took place in South Africa in August 2004. Through the structured mechanism of the JCC, South Africa and Mali collaborate in the following fields: Arts and Culture, Science and Technology, Transport, Health, Minerals and Energy, Agriculture, Trade and Industry and Tourism and Environment.

The last meeting of the JCC took place in December 2006 in Mali. In 2008 South Africa hosted a Senior Officials’ Meeting with a view to further support the work of the JCC. South Africa is scheduled to host the next meeting of the JCC, and it is expected that the two Ministers will use this opportunity to agree on a date for this meeting. 

The two countries signed a social development agreement in October 2009. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the two countries are in the process of finalising a Health Agreement as well as a MoU on Youth Development with the government of Mali.

This visit is underscored by the great importance the two countries attach to increasing trade figures between them. In support of promoting integration and implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the two countries created the first Cultural Programme for NEPAD known as the South Africa-Mali Timbuktu Manuscript Project.

This project was aimed at preserving and conserving the ancient Timbuktu manuscripts through the provision of a new facility to house the manuscripts and the interpretation of their contents. In May 2010, the Project was officially handed over by the South African government to the Malian government. 

South Africa exports metals and machinery to Mali, the latter exports textile to South Africa. AngloGold Ashanti and Randgold are presently operating in Mali. In this regard, it is expected that socio-economic and political relations between the two countries will continue to improve in years to come, especially within the framework of the Joint Commission of Cooperation.

For further information please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION 

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
Pretoria

21 June 2011

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