Opening Remarks by Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim, SA-Malawi Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC), 07 September 2012

Your Excellency, Honourable Ephraim Chiume, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Malawi;

Mr Patrick Kabambe, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Malawi;

Ambassador Kudjoe; Deputy Director-General: Africa Bilateral;

Your Excellency, Mrs Mabude, South African High Commissioner to Malawi and Mr Goddia, Acting Malawian High Commissioner to South Africa;

Senior officials of the Republics of Malawi and South Africa;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is my singular honour to welcome you, Honourable Minister Chiume and your esteemed delegation to our country. We hope and trust that you will have a happy and enjoyable stay in South Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We gather here this morning on this auspicious occasion of the second Session of the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) between the Republics of South Africa and Malawi. We wish to recall that our JCC Agreement was signed in May 2007 by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma now Chairperson of the African Union and her former counterpart now President Joyce Banda. It is worth noting that these two women leaders who were mandated by their respective Governments to sign this strategic Agreement have since assumed higher offices. We therefore thank for them for their foresight in placing our bilateral relations on a sounding footing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The signing of the Agreement establishing the Joint Commission not only signalled our collective desire to promote political, economic and social cooperation but also marked the beginning of a strategic cooperation and partnership between South Africa and Malawi. 

Your Excellency,

Bound by the historical and cultural ties, our two countries have cooperated noticeably well over the years. In this regard, we wish to recognise the strong economic cooperation between our countries which is evidenced by a large presence of the South African companies in Malawi. We take pride that currently South Africa is the second largest investor in Malawi. This investment is covers among others manufacturing, services, tourism and retail. The presence of these companies is a clear vote of confidence in your country’s investment climate.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are proud that the South African investments in Malawi have become an integral part of efforts to boost economic growth and creating employment opportunities, thus making a contribution in the fight against poverty and underdevelopment.

Your Excellency,

We follow closely your country’s determined efforts to attract foreign direct investments and we can assure you that we will do everything possible to continue to encourage South African private sector to invest in your economy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We gather here this morning not only to reflect on the state of our bilateral relations but also to identify new areas of cooperation in keeping with our collective desire to enhance our partnership. We desire to achieve sustainable economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction. The odds are stacked against us, but as Harry Golden said: “The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work”.

The Joint Commission between our two countries provides a good platform to develop strategies with a view to strengthening our bilateral relations. We must recognise the progress made in enhancing our relations since the signing of the JCC Agreement. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

We regret the fact that we have not met since the inaugural Session in 2008. We therefore need to re-commit ourselves to meeting annually as stipulated in the JCC Agreement. This, the second of the JCC meeting also provides us with an opportunity to re-dedicate ourselves to making our relations work for the mutual benefit of our countries and peoples.

Your Excellency,

Before I conclude, I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate your country for having been elected as the incoming Chair of the SADC Summit. In this regard, we look forward to your able leadership and we wish to assure you of our commitment to working with you as you discharge this regional responsibility.

As members of both SADC and AU, we should consult on an ongoing basis with a view to strategically position these prime organisations to achieve their set objectives. The exigencies of the African integration agenda dictate that we should work together for the unity of the continent within the framework of the Constitutive Act of the AU.
We further should forge ahead with the programme for the socio-economic development of the continent guided by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Internationally, we should continue to call for a just and rules-based multilateral system that places development issues at the centre of its agenda.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish this gathering every success and I look forward to the report of the senior officials who have been diligently working since yesterday.

I thank you for your attention





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