Remarks at the Closing Ceremony of the
Second Session of the South Africa-Algeria Bi-National
Commission, 19 October 2001
Your Excellency, President Bouteflika,
Your Excellencies, Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners
The Business Delegations from Algeria and South Africa
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We have come to the end of our Second Session of the
Bi-national Commission for Co-operation between Algeria
and South Africa. We have arrived at this point after
a great deal of discussion, exchange of ideas and information,
visits to various sites of importance, with agreements
finalised and signed. In so doing, we have cemented
the relationship between our two countries and allowed
the friendship between us to grow and to deepen and
to bear fruit.
The South African academic and author, Njabulo Ndebele,
twenty years ago wrote a poem entitled "The Revolution
of the Aged" in which he said the following:
"Do not eat an unripe apple
its bitterness is a tingling knife.
Suffer yourself to wait
And the ripeness will come
And the apple will fall down at your feet.
Now is the time
pluck the apple
and feed the future with its ripeness."
(The Return of the Amazi Bird, Ravan Press, Johannesburg,
1982, p. 388)
I believe that in reviewing the progress that has been
made by the various Technical Working Groups, clearly
we have worked very hard over the past few days towards
making this moment ripe and creating the enabling conditions
for the Algeria-South African co-operation and growth
and for African development. We have done everything
possible in a short space of time so that the people
of Algeria and the people of South Africa can work together
as one in building a common and prosperous future.
We have seen that by acting together, based on a common
vision, we have managed to successfully unite our two
countries around a common plan of action and to align
our mutual national interests.
This meeting has just seen the signing of additional
agreements between our two countries, namely phytosanitory
protection, mutual legal assistance, extradition and
institutional co-operation in the field of agriculture
as well as fisheries and coastal management. In this
way, we have begun to share our knowledge and resources
for the benefit of both our peoples.
I am also pleased that twinning agreements have been
signed between Tshwane and Algiers and between Durban
and Oran. In this way, we shall bring our people closer
together, to learn from each other and to learn about
each other, to exchange ideas on a whole range of issues
beneficial to all.
An appraisal of the Technical Working Committees indicates
that sectors related to trade, industry and investment;
energy, hydrocarbons, and mining; agriculture and water;
transport and public works; and information technology
and communications offer possibilities around which
the economic relationship between South Africa and Algeria
should be profiled.
The Working Group dealing with science and technology,
health, art and culture, education and vocation training
through emphasising partnerships and the creation of
an interface between various institutions seeks to improve
intellectual relations between our two countries. Further
we need to build a common African intelligentsia that
is able to address not only the problems in their own
country but are fully equipped to meet the challenges
presented in other nations and states.
Significant advances were made in the clustered group
of transport, public works and tourism, with air and
rail partnerships put forward and a framework established
to implement tourist related programmes around the country.
Similarly, in the Working Group dealing with Mines,
Energy and Hydrocarbons, areas of co-operation included
the provision of household gas, the electricity sector,
mining, especially mineral beneficiation, and the petrochemical
The meeting of the Technical Working Group on Agriculture,
Fisheries, Water, Forestry and the Environment focused
systematically on areas of strategic importance and
succeeded in finalising the Agreement on Insititutional
Co-operation in the Field of Agriculture and Co-operation
on Phytosanitary matters.
In the group that looked at information and technologies,
the focus was on arriving at an understanding of issues
and a common framework in which to implement the memorandum
of understanding signed last year, notably with a telecommunications
policy and regulatory workshop to be held in December
The Working Group on Youth, Sports, Women Empowerment
and Handicraft acknowledged that there is significant
scope for co-operation between our two countries in
terms of poverty alleviation and eradication, rural
development, capacity development especially of women
In the Working Group encompassing Industry, Housing,
SMMEs, Privatisation and Pharmaceutical Industries,
there have been important developments in the area of
pharmaceuticals. We are pleased with the conclusion
of a venture agreement that allows a multi-million rand
pharmaceutical manufacturing facility to be established
in South Africa.
The work of these Working Groups is crucial in that
only through a multi-sector and integrated approach
can we succeed in our efforts to develop Africa and
to build a better life for all African people.
I think that great strides were made in the Strategic
Business Forum that began its work prior to the arrival
of the official delegation with the meeting of and concluded
with the signing of joint ventures between business
in both our countries.
We have no choice but to continue to advance our relationship
in the economic sectors of trade and investment, infrastructure
development, investment in information and communication
technologies and human resource and skills development.
The sectors that have been identified as key to our
economic, trade and investment-driven strategy are also
the crucial focuses of attention in the New African
Increased intra-Africa trade, strengthened economic
and business links between our countries and the nurturing
of a sound partnership between government and business
will accelerate growth and take us in the right direction
to sustained development.
We have managed to arrive at and further enhance a
shared political understanding of Africa and her place
in the world. Through our meetings we have expanded
this relationship to cover a range of economic, social,
scientific and cultural sectors that can build our countries
and our people.
As we meet here in Pretoria and as indeed when we met
last year in Algiers, I believe we are indeed "feeding
the future with its ripeness" and making of Africa
all that is beautiful, true and new.
In the creation of enabling conditions for African
innovation, African splendour, African ownership, African
interconnectedness in all possible ways, we are indeed
taking this united road of many lanes, many languages,
to recovery and sustained development.
May our relationship grow from strength to strength
and continue to bear the fruit for present and future
renewal and fulfilment.
I thank you.