Closing Address by Deputy President
Jacob Zuma to the 6th Session of the South Africa-Nigeria
, Bi-National Commission, Durban, 10 September 2004
Your Excellency and Dear Brother, the Vice-President
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar,
Honourable Nigerian and South African Government Ministers
and Deputy Ministers,
The Honourable Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal,
Mr S'bu Ndebele, and Provincial Ministers,
The Mayor of Durban, Mr Obed Mlaba,
Governors of Nigerian States,
The High Commissioners of South Africa to Nigeria and
Nigeria to South Africa,
Members of the two delegations,
Ladies and gentlemen of the Media,
We have come to the end of the 6th Session of the South
African Nigeria Bi-National Commission, and I can proudly
say that this successful meeting and interaction has
further enhanced bilateral relations between our two
The successful conclusion of this Session is proof
of the long-standing warm political relations between
South Africa and Nigeria, further providing a platform
for the consolidation of such relations between our
Let me use this opportunity to congratulate the working
groups on the excellent work they have done over the
last few days. Our Ministers and officials have indeed,
once again, done us proud.
The result of the deliberations certainly demonstrates
that a lot of commitment and hard work went into the
discussions, and provides greater impetus and avenues
for further deepening the co-operation between the two
The speed and efficiency with which the working groups
concluded their work therefore indicates that the BNC
has reached a mature level.
My Dear Brother, one of our major challenges remains
the drive towards the full implementation of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which
will give an economic basis to the significant political
progress we have already made in building the African
There is also the challenge of building the African
Union into a formidable and successful body, fully capable
of taking Africa into the 21st century as a prosperous,
peaceful and stable continent.
In order to achieve its objectives, the African Union
requires adequate resources, and this Binational Commission
has correctly noted that the budget of the AU is inadequate
to deal with all the developmental challenges facing
We have agreed on the importance of the implementation
of the AU resolution calling for the meeting of finance
experts to find innovative ways of raising money.
These experts must among other things pay serious attention
to resources within the African continent. It is my
considered view that given the resources that Africa
contains, within private institutions as well as governments,
it is possible to create a special fund to deal with
special developmental programmes located within NEPAD.
I say this Your Excellency because of our agreement
in this BNC that while calling upon the international
community to honour pledges made to support NEPAD, that
African countries should also lead by example and support
their own institutions.
Ladies and gentlemen, we take heart that increasing
numbers of African states are willing to subject themselves
to the Peer Review process.
We welcome this positive development, and would urge
others to follow the example of their fellow Africans
in joining this laudable initiative.
Your Excellency, Mr Vice President, having noted the
seriousness of the achievement of peace and stability
in the continent, this session of the BNC has welcomed
the operationalisation of the Peace and Security Council,
especially the adoption of the framework for the establishment
of the African Standby Force, Early Warning Mechanism
and the Panel of the Wise.
We have also agreed to co-operate in matters relating
to Peace Support Operations, especially our obligations
towards the operationalisation of the African Standby
Force. We have concurred on this given our common view
that the achievement of peace and stability in our continent
remains a priority.
On international governance, My Dear brother, we correctly
agreed on the need for urgent reform of the United Nations
system, and for this reform to bridge the gap between
the international security agenda and the international
The Commission has also agreed that discussions should
continue within the African Union, regarding the proposed
reform of the United Nations Security Council.
Mr Vice President, the strengthening of our bilateral
political relations between South Africa and Nigeria
also provides an opportunity for both countries to further
explore potential economic opportunities in the two
Apart from trade, both countries have the opportunity
to exchange various experiences and information relating
to technology, communications, transport, agriculture
and other fields.
While economic relations between both countries are
strong, there is still room for improvement. Solid economic
relations between our two countries will increasingly
contribute towards enhanced trade flows between the
We therefore welcome the progress made in this arena,
in the areas of aviation, postal services, public enterprises
and telecommunications. We welcome in particular, the
granting of an additional frequency by Nigeria to our
national carrier, South African Airways.
We have, Mr Vice President, also noted similarities
and possibilities of intensified co-operation, between
South Africa's focus on boosting the Second Economy
in which the majority of the country's poor earn their
living, with Nigeria's New Economic Empowerment and
There are similarities in the focus on the areas of
rural development, poverty alleviation and job creation
to name a few. We are therefore of one mind regarding
boosting growth and development within vulnerable sectors
of the two economies, which opens up opportunities for
I must before concluding, use this opportunity to thank
His Majesty the King for being part of this session
and gracing us with his presence at the official banquet
last night. His presence was a powerful endorsement
of this Commission and indicated the highest level with
which this Province regards relations between South
Africa and Nigeria.
We look forward to enjoying His Majesty's hospitality
during the Umhlanga ceremony on Saturday in kwaNongoma.
Also extremely significant and unprecedented, was the
support of the Premier of the Province, Mr S'bu Ndebele
and the entire provincial executive committee who took
time off their busy schedules to attend the BNC.
This kind of support displays the strong culture of
co-operative governance between all spheres of government
in our country and augurs well for the expansion of
relations between our country and the Federal Republic
of Nigeria, at a provincial level in our case, and State
level in Nigeria.
I must also single out uMntwana wakwaPhindangene, Dr
Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the leader of the Inkatha Freedom
Party, for his support of this BNC. Given that the IFP
is part of the government of this province, the attendance
of the President of the party indicates that there is
unity and concurrence within the Provincial government,
regarding the support for the South Africa-Nigeria Binational
The support of the Ethekwini Municipality and the Mayor
Mr Obed Mlaba is also much appreciated. Your hospitality
in this province will make us want to return and hold
the BNC here again!
Your Excellency, My Dear Brother, certainly, substantial
progress has been made in this 6th session of our Binational
Commission. Many areas of co-operation have been further
enhanced, and we close this session with full confidence
that this bilateral mechanism is on track, and remains
an effective vehicle of doing business among ourselves.
Allow, me therefore, Your Excellency, in closing the
6th Session of the South Africa-Nigeria BNC, to say
on behalf of the South African Government, that we thank
you for honouring us with your presence during this
Session. We hope that you will hold pleasant memories
of your short stay in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
We wish you and your delegation a wonderful stay for
the remainder of your time in South Africa.
I thank you.