Joint Communiqué issued on the occasion of the State Visit by the President of the Republic of Burundi, H. E. President Pierre Nkurunziza, held in Cape Town, 4 – 5 November 2014.
At the invitation of His Excellency, Mr Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, President Pierre Nkurunziza of the Republic of Burundi paid a State Visit to South Africa from 4 - 5 November 2014.
1. On his arrival at the Cape Town International Airport accompanied by a high level delegation, President Nkurunziza was welcomed by Hon. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation and a military guard of honour.
2. During the visit, which was aimed at further strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between South Africa and Burundi, the two Heads of State held substantive and fruitful one-on-one discussions on a number of issues of common interest at bilateral, regional and international levels, followed by discussions with ministers from various line-function departments from the respective Governments, during which ways of further strengthening the already excellent ties of friendship and cooperation were addressed.
3. The two Presidents expressed satisfaction that a Business Forum jointly held by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Burundian Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Planning took place on 4 November 2014, bringing together senior business leaders and representatives of State-Owned Companies, Chambers of Commerce and investment promotion agencies from the two countries.
4. The Presidents noted that bilateral trade stood at US$ 52 million in 2013, and has potential to grow further. South Africa’s major export product to Burundi in 2013 was petroleum oils, (21% of total exports). This is followed by cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose at 15% of total exports; trucks, motor vehicle for the transport of goods (14%); iron bars and rods (14%) and lastly flour and meals of oil seeds at 4%. The major products imported from Burundi in 2013 were coffee and tea, followed by commodities, inorganic chemicals and electronic goods. South Africa is looking into opportunities for growing its bilateral economic engagement with Burundi and particularly in the fields of tourism and conference development, infrastructure development, financial services, energy and mining. Burundi is blessed with rich deposits of coltan and nickel, as well as gold and platinum among other minerals.
5. The two Presidents emphasized the importance of developing agriculture and agro-processing to ensure food security and food safety in Burundi. The two Presidents encouraged the participants at the Business Forum to identify, and vigorously pursue opportunities for trade and investment in each country. President Nkurunziza further expressed his satisfaction that Transnet is positively considering extending the railway project from Lusaka to Mpulungu as well as to assist in the development of a port in Bujumbura so as to open up Lake Tanganyika as a transport route for central Africa.
6. During the discussions the Burundian side requested that South Africa consider ways to reintroduce direct flights by SAA between South Africa and Burundi, and to consider cooperation with Air Burundi. South Africa agreed to consider the request.
7. The two Heads of State witnessed the signing of the following Agreements between South Africa and Burundi:
- The Agreement Establishing a Joint Commission of Cooperation;
- The MoU on Arts and Culture Co-operation;
8. During the bilateral discussions, both Presidents expressed their satisfaction that South Africa will offer a diplomatic training course for 25 senior diplomats and other senior government officials from Burundi, to be hosted by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation in early 2015. President Nkurunziza also expressed his appreciation for the ongoing commitment by South Africa in standing alongside Burundi since the end of the civil war, on its path to post-conflict reconstruction and development. The contribution to institutional capacity building in Burundi by the various South African line-function Departments was also acknowledged.
9. The two Heads of State instructed their respective Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation and of External Relations and International Co-operation to convene the inaugural meeting of the South Africa-Burundi Joint Commission of Cooperation on a mutually acceptable date.
10. The two Presidents urged the relevant Ministers on both sides to take all necessary measures to implement the content of all of the Agreements and of the Memoranda of Understanding that have been signed between the two Governments to date.
11. During the discussions the Burundian side requested that South Africa consider extending the same benefits applicable to SADC students, in tertiary education institution in South Africa, to Burundian students. South Africa agreed to consider the request by Burundi.
12. The Burundian side informed that they are establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and requested South Africa to render technical assistance in this regard. South Africa agreed to consider rendering such technical assistance.
13. Both sides commended that the Memorandum of Understanding for the Referral of Patients for medical treatment from Burundi to South Africa will be signed shortly.
14. During their discussions, the two Heads of State discussed the recent internal developments in their respective countries. President Zuma commended President Nkurunziza on his leadership in the consolidation of peace and democracy in his country through reconciliation and nation building, as well as in social and economic development efforts. President Zuma further acknowledged the efforts made by Government of Burundi in its preparations for the holding of free, fair and democratic elections in 2015.
15. President Nkurunziza commended the role that President Zuma and former President Nelson Mandela had played as Facilitators of the peace process leading up to the first democratic elections in Burundi in 2005 and the role played by the South African National Defence Force in having deployed peace-keeping troops in Burundi until the end of their mission in 2009.
16. On regional issues of mutual concern, President Zuma commended the work being done by President Nkurunziza in promoting the peaceful resolution of conflict in the Central African region. President Nkurunziza noted that the brotherly assistance that Burundi had received from South Africa in its time of need, had made it possible for Burundi to now be in a position to make its own contribution through assisting other African countries in need of peace support. Burundi’s support to Somalia, where Burundian forces make up a significant contingent of the African Union’s peace-keeping mission, AMISOM, and to the Central African Republic, where Burundi has also deployed troops to the international peace-keeping forces were acknowledged by President Zuma. South Africa’s role in the regional peace-keeping efforts in Africa, including in the DRC and Sudan, was also noted in the bilateral discussions.
17. The two Heads of State stressed the necessity of strengthening the integration of regional organisations with a view to promoting peace, security, stability and sustainable socio-economic development, in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
18. They acknowledged the untiring role of the African Union to address the socio-political crises on the Continent, including the fight against Ebola, and strongly urged the international community to continue and strengthen their support in this regard.
19. On international issues, the two Heads of State reaffirmed the necessity to introduce, without further delay, meaningful reforms within the United Nations system, particularly with regard to the Security Council.
20. At the end of his visit to South Africa, President Nkurunziza expressed deep gratitude to his Brother, President Zuma, to the Government and to the People of South Africa for the hospitality and warm welcome extended to him and to his delegation. Lastly, President Nkurunziza invited President Zuma to visit Burundi, which will be considered.
21. Before his departure, President Nkurunziza ended the State Visit with a tour of Robben Island, where the Apartheid government held President Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners.
05 November 2014