Joint Communiqué on the occasion of the Ninth Session of the Binational Commission between the Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo held on 13 to 16 October 2015 in Kinshasa, DRC.
1. At the invitation of His Excellency, Mr Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), His Excellency, Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa (RSA), visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 15 to 16 October 2015 on the occasion of the Ninth Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between RSA and the DRC. Both Heads of State were accompanied by delegations of Ministers and Senior Government Officials. The meeting of the two Heads of State was preceded by a Ministerial Meeting which took place on 15 October 2015 and a Senior Officials’ Meeting which was held from 13 to 14 October 2015.
2. During the Summit of the BNC, the two Heads of State reviewed the bilateral cooperation between the two countries. The two Heads of State received a report of the Ministerial Commission on the implementation of the signed agreements and the commitments and recommendations made during the 8th Session of the BNC that was held from 22 to 24 October 2012 in South Africa. These commitments and recommendations concern cooperation projects in the following fields: Politics and Governance; Defence and Security; Economy, Finance and Infrastructure; and Social and Humanitarian Affairs.
3. The two Heads of State particularly commended progress recorded in the implementation of the Treaty on the Grand Inga Hydropower Project, which was signed on 30 October 2013 during the State Visit of President Zuma. They reaffirmed as provided for in the Treaty the joint leadership of the two countries in the development of the Grand Inga Hydropower Project. They urged the responsible Ministries/Departments to move with speed to finalise all the outstanding issues including the requisite working groups in order to pave way for the construction of this Pan-African project. The two Presidents further commended the signing on 13 June 2015 of the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of tourism by the two responsible Ministers, which will enable cooperation in this growing and employment-creating sector.
4. The two Heads of State witnessed the signing of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement by the Ministers responsible for Transport. The Bilateral Air Services Agreement will enable the two countries to facilitate movement of people.
5. The two Heads of State also witnessed the official handover of the Military Strategy Document for the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) by the South African Minister of Defence and Military Veterans to the Honourable Minister of Defence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Heads of State directed the two Ministers of Defence to implement this important Military Strategy.
6. The two Heads of State reiterated their willingness to improve and strengthen economic relations by enhancing cooperation among their respective business communities and by increasing trade and investment between the two countries. In this connection, South Africa’s Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) recently held in September 2015 both in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi is regarded as an important platform to achieve this goal. The two Heads of State agreed to encourage people-to-people contacts through cultural, sporting, scientific and educational exchange programmes.
7. The Heads of State noted with satisfaction the process initiated by the Congolese people on the political dialogue which will culminate into broader national cohesion and the consolidation of democracy in the DRC.
8. They expressed great satisfaction at the warm and special relations that exist between their two countries and committed themselves to further enhance these relations for the mutual benefit of their respective countries and peoples.
9. The two Heads of State also used this occasion of the 9th Session of the BNC to exchange views on regional, continental and international issues. On regional issues, they noted with appreciation the adoption by the Southern African Development Community of the Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap that will serve as a catalyst for the region’s economic development. On continental issues, the two Heads of State expressed their commitment to African unity and integration within the framework of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and to the peaceful resolution of conflicts, as well as African renewal, specifically through the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
10. They noted with appreciation the work of the Tripartite Mechanism between Angola, DRC and South Africa that serves to support the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework on the DRC and the Great Lakes Region.
11. The two Leaders expressed their grave concern about the on-going conflicts and instability on the Continent. In this regard, they condemned in the strongest possible terms the activities of the terrorist and extremist groups that continue to cause human suffering and instability in some parts of the Continent.
12. With regard to international matters, the two Heads of State reiterated their common view on the need to promote multilateralism and South-South cooperation. They further called for the reform of the United Nations Security Council, and to this end, they agreed to work together to achieve this objective. They welcomed the adoption by the Heads of State of the Sustainable Development Goals in New York in September 2015.
13. The two Heads of State further agreed to coordinate positions bilaterally and multilaterally through the African Group and the Group of 77 and China (G77 and China), during negotiations in multilateral bodies within the framework of the United Nations, particularly in the areas of climate change based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities.
14. The Heads of State expressed concern about the abuse of the Responsibility to Protect norm for narrow political interests that had nothing to do with the fundamental aspects of the prevention of mass atrocities. The Heads of State further noted the need for serious reflection on the notion of regime change and its role in perpetuating conflicts and instability, thereby undermining peace and development.
15. At the conclusion of the BNC, His Excellency, Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, expressed to his Congolese counterpart, His Excellency, Mr Joseph Kabila Kabange, to the people and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, his sincere appreciation and gratitude for the warm, friendly and fraternal welcome and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation.
16. In conclusion, both Leaders agreed that the next Session of the BNC will be held in South Africa in 2016 on a date to be mutually determined through the diplomatic channel.
Done in Kinshasa on the 16th October 2015
For the Republic of South Africa For the Democratic Republic of the Congo