Press Release

13 September 2013

Deputy Minister Fransman's working visit to Colombia concludes successful four-nation tour to Latin America and the Caribbean

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman concluded a successful working visit to Colombia, thus completing his four-nation visit to Latin America and the Caribbean (Peru, Ecuador, Cuba and Colombia).

The objective of the visit was to review bilateral relations with Latin America and the Caribbean in order to enhance political, social and economic relations and regional cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

During his visit to Colombia, Deputy Minister Fransman met with his counterpart, Ms Monica Lanzetta. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to continue building on the sound bilateral and multilateral relations and cooperation.

Deputy Minister Fransman's visit will be followed by a visit to South Africa in October 2013 by Colombia's Foreign Minister Angela Holguin, thereby in order to further cement bilateral and multilateral relations between our two countries.

The Deputy Ministers reviewed the status of outstanding agreements such as the Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations which will institutionalise relations and cooperation between the two countries. In addition, it was agreed that all other outstanding agreements including cooperation in cultural education and sports participation; abolition of visas for tourism and business; mining and mineral beneficiation; and aeronautical affairs will be ready for signature during the Colombian Foreign Minister's visit.

Both Deputy Ministers acknowledged that there has been an increase in bilateral trade, investments and tourism between our two countries. SAB Miller, Anglo-Gold Ashanti, Anglo-American (Thermo Coal) and Old Mutual have established a strong business presence in Colombia. In addition, the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) in Johannesburg was derived from the Colombian experience and is under implementation in other major South African cities.

Colombia sees South Africa as a gateway to Africa and is interested in strengthening cooperation with the region.

Finally, the Deputy Ministers recognised the major political, economic and cultural opportunities that exist between Colombia and South Africa and between the two Continents - Latin America and Africa. Both sides agreed to optimalise the close working relations in these areas by creating a network comprising Government and Private Sector stakeholders that would enhance bilateral relations at a practical level.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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