Joint Communiqué on the occasion of the Fifth South Africa-Ireland Partnership Forum, Pretoria, 31 October 2017

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Luwellyn Landers, hosted the Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development of Ireland, Mr Ciarán Cannon, for the fifth session of the South Africa-Ireland Partnership Forum in Pretoria on 31 October 2017.

The meeting reaffirmed the historical ties, close friendship and common interests and values that are the foundation of the strong relationship between South Africa and Ireland.

During the Forum the parties had wide ranging discussions on political, economic and social developments in both countries, as well as current affairs in Africa and Europe. They reviewed bilateral political and economic relations expressing satisfaction on the progress achieved in various areas of cooperation since the last Partnership Forum of 2015 and further agreeing to explore other areas of cooperation over the coming years including in agriculture, and education.

Noting that 2018 will see the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Ireland both sides agreed to work together to commemorate this important anniversary and to strengthen ties between our two countries, including prioritising an exchange of high level visits.

The parties acknowledged the good cooperation which exists on migration issues and agreed to further develop the relationship including through technical visits.

In the energy sector the cooperation between South Africa and Ireland was warmly welcomed.  Both sides also acknowledged the possibilities for further cooperation and knowledge sharing around commercialisation which are being explored.

Acknowledging the critical role that the knowledge economy plays in economic progress and the benefits of knowledge sharing and research cooperation in science and technology, there is a strong desire by both sides to build cooperation in this area and accordingly both parties have begun initial consultations to this end.

Cooperation on trade and investment was emphasised throughout the Forum and is a priority for both countries. The two parties agreed on the existence of opportunities for increased trade and investment between Ireland and South Africa and agreed to make this a focus over the coming years.  High potential areas identified by both sides include aviation, ICT, financial, data and business process services, agri-food, energy, advanced manufacturing as well as the film and television sector. It was agreed to work towards increasing bilateral trade and investment in both directions.  .

Minister Cannon highlighted Ireland’s growing commitment to South Africa reflected in the Embassy’s new Five Year Strategy 2017 -2021 which commenced this year. The Strategy reflects Ireland’s belief in the potential of all aspects of the South Africa -Ireland relationship, including with respect to trade, investment, social development and people to people linkages.

The Strategy sets out two key objectives which are strengthening the environment for business and trade, and supporting Ireland’s citizens and diaspora, and other linkages with South Africa; and supporting South Africa in addressing the challenges of exclusion, inequality and enhancing human rights protection, in particular for women and girls.

South Africa welcomed the new strategy and expressed appreciation for the support given by the Irish Government to South African students through the Kader Asmal Fellowship. Since 2013, 53 students have been awarded the Fellowship and have taken up their studies in Ireland in a range of fields including law, business, and agriculture and food science. Both Parties welcomed the existing partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training which includes a contribution of funding to the Kader Asmal Fellowship and cooperation on increasing vocational skills and training in South Africa.

The Parties exchanged views on regional developments in both continents. Discussions included developments in relation to Britain’s plans to exit the European Union, the current situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and SADC. Both Ministers discussed AU-EU relations in the context of the upcoming Summit at the end of November.

South Africa and Ireland stressed their shared commitment to multilateralism, to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and acknowledged the high level of mutual understanding and cooperation in multilateral affairs. The co-chairs exchanged views on United Nations reform, disarmament, human rights issues as well as the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

At its conclusion, both parties expressed appreciation for the Partnership Forum which has provided an excellent platform for dialogue and cooperation since 2004. The parties, demonstrating their commitment to increase cooperation, signed the Joint Declaration of Cooperation (JDC) which creates a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) between South Africa and Ireland. The inaugural session of the South Africa-Ireland JCC will be held in 2019, in Dublin, Ireland.

Luwellyn Landers
Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa

Ciarán Cannon
Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development of Ireland

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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