Media statement

22 October 2015

Deputy Minister Mfeketo to represent SA in the IORA Council of Ministers Meeting in Indonesia

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Nomaindiya Mfeketo, will lead a South African delegation to the 15th Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers on 23 October 2015 in Padang, Indonesia.

At this meeting, Indonesia will succeed Australia as IORA Chair for the period 2015 – 2017. Significantly, South Africa will become the Vice Chair and a member of the Association’s Troika, along with Indonesia and Australia, and will Chair IORA from 2017-2019.

Key issues that the Ministerial meeting is expected to address include:

  • The initiation of preparations for the commemoration of 20 years of IORA in 2017 and the strategic outlook for the Association.
  • The Association will welcome the Federal Republic of Somalia as its 21st Member, and the Federal Republic of Germany as its 7th Dialogue Partner - attesting to the fact of the growth trajectory the Association has been on.
  • Further enhancement of regionalism and greater engagement with the Association’s Dialogue Partners.
  • The Blue Economy as a key IORA focus to harness oceans and maritime resources to drive economic growth, job creation and innovation, while safeguarding sustainability and environmental protection.
  • Progress on IORA’s six priority areas, namely (i) maritime safety and security, (ii) disaster risk management, (iii) trade and investment facilitation, (iv) fisheries management, (v) academic, science and technology cooperation, and (vi) tourism and cultural exchanges.
  • Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment as a cross-cutting issue.

The Council of Ministers’ meeting will be preceded by a series of meetings of substructures, namely: the Committee of Senior Officials, the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group, the Working Group on Trade and Investment, and the Indian Ocean Rim Business Forum.

Deputy Minister Mfeketo will be accompanied by an inter-departmental delegation of senior officials from the Departments of International Relations and Cooperation, of Trade and Industry, and of Science and Technology, along with senior academics from South Africa’s scientific community.

IORA was formally launched in Mauritius on 6 - 7 March 1997 by fourteen (14) Member States. South Africa is a founding member of the Association - a Charter-based multilateral organisation that is fraternal in nature and driven by consensus. The Association essentially is an economic cooperative community of littoral and island States around the Indian Ocean.

The Association’s current membership (21) is derived from four regions:

  1. Southern Africa and Eastern African Cluster: Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania, Somalia (acceding) 

  2. The Gulf Cluster: Iran. Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates

  3. South Asian Cluster: Bangladesh, India, and Sri-Lanka

  4. The South Eastern Indian Ocean Cluster: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

IORA is also supported by its dialogue partners: China, Egypt, France, Germany (joining), Japan, UK, and the USA.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5976

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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