Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim concludes visit to Australia

02 November 2013

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim has concluded his visit to Australia, where he attended the 13th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) held on the 01 November 2013 in Perth.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim attended the 13th Meeting of the Council of Ministers within the context of strengthening cooperation with the member states of the Indian Ocean Rim Association in the interest of increasing South Africa’s trade relations with those countries.

The 13th meeting of the Council of Minister in Perth was held in a spirit of collegiality and common endeavour. An important milestone of the 13th meeting was the adoption of IORA as the new name for the organisation, known formerly as the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).

As a founding member, South Africa welcomes these important developments as a step that signifies the renewed determination to strengthen the Association. In this regard, Deputy Minister Ebrahim announced South Africa’s willingness to assume the position of Vice Chair of IORA in 2015 leading to its Chairship in 2017-2019. South Africa looks forward to exchange views on a common strategy for the IORA for the forthcoming years between fellow member states as well as with the IORA Troika-Australia, Indonesia and India.

The 13th meeting saw member states reaffirming their shared interest in the stability, security and prosperity of all countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association and commitment to enhance cooperation to deliver sustained economic growth and balanced development.

As the leading body for the promotion of regional collaboration across the Indian Ocean rim, IORA will take forward its role in addressing the development, security, resource and environmental challenges. Therefore, IORA will broaden and deepen efforts to bolster maritime security and safety, particularly continued threats to maritime commerce, and freedom of the high seas in consistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). In this regard, South Africa will closely work with other IORA members to fight challenges posed by fisheries and piracy.

The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface, boasting a coastline of 66,526 km. According to the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (2003), the IOR area has 40% of the world’s oil and gas reserves.

An estimated 80% of the world’s seaborne oil trade transits through the Indian Ocean, largely from west (the Persian Gulf) to the east (China, India, and Japan). The significance of this trade route presents several opportunities for a littoral state such as South Africa, particularly from a Trade Facilitation vantage point. South Africa also sees the opportunity to strengthen Africa-Asia ties through cooperation within the IORA.

In addition, it is important for South Africa to take advantage of the opportunities by increasing its market products to the Indian Ocean Region which has a great deal for SA’s economy growth. Accordingly, South Africa’s approach to this setting is in line with that of South-South Co-operation which is a foreign policy priority.

Furthermore, in the margins of the13th IORA meeting, Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim also met with the South African Diaspora living in Australia. During the deliberations he encouraged them to contribute to the economic growth of the country through economic opportunities that exist and also to positively market SA.

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

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

www.dirco.gov.za
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road
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