Opening Remarks by President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the Eighth Session of the South Africa/DRC BNC, Pretoria
23 October 2012
Your Excellency, President Kabila Kabange,
Your Excellencies, our respective Ambassadors,
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you, Mr President and your esteemed delegation to South Africa.
Allow me, Your Excellency, to once more congratulate you and your country for successfully hosting the Francophone Summit.
Your historic hosting of this important Summit is a demonstration of trust and confidence in you and your country.
It is just over a year since our last meeting in Lubumbashi where we took important decisions. One of those decisions was South Africa’s commitment to support the Government of the DRC to organise the November 2011 elections.
We are happy that those elections were successfully conducted in a peaceful environment and observed by regional and international observers.
Importantly, those elections assisted in strengthening democracy in the DRC.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We gather here today on the occasion of the Eighth Session of our Bi-National Commission.
We regard this Bi-National Commission as a strategic mechanism which coordinates the bilateral cooperation between our two countries. Our two countries launched the Bi-National Commission (BNC) in August 2004, to facilitate bilateral cooperation and partnership.
Today, this cooperation is demonstrated by the existence of more than thirty (30) bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding. We meet here today to review and assess progress in the implementation of these agreements.
We hope that we will be able to accurately and honestly measure and assess the implementation of these bilateral projects.
I am informed that noticeable progress has been reported on our Joint Projects.
In this regard, it is important to acknowledge, amongst others, the good work done in the field of capacity building within the DRC’s national army and police; the public servants census and the training of diplomats.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have said in the past that there is a continued need to strengthen our economic relations by enhancing co-operation among our business people and increasing trade and investment between our countries.
I therefore note with great appreciation that various measures are being undertaken to encourage investments between our two countries, including business delegations, focusing on banking, agriculture, infrastructure development, mining, services and food industry.
I am therefore convinced that our interaction today will present us with an opportunity to refocus and reprioritise our cooperation for the benefit of both our countries.
I trust that the Ministers and Senior Officials have engaged on this matter and that they would be making proposals to us on the way forward.
I nevertheless hope that we can achieve most of our objectives in the shortest possible timeframe, building on our fruitful cooperation aimed at ensuring better lives for our people.
I am indeed encouraged by our cooperation in the international arena, which is reflected in our common vision of promoting multilateralism. Here I specifically want to refer to the reform of the UN as well as International Financial Institutions like the IMF and the World Bank which still relegate our Continent to a peripheral role of non-deciders.
We must prevail in this objective to ensure that our Continent takes up its rightful place when decisions are being made about its future.
Our partnership should serve to advance our common objectives for the promotion of regional integration, South-South co-operation, sustainable development as well as conflict resolution in pursuit of the goal of African renewal.
Finally, our BNC will be ten years old in 2014 – a milestone that is worth taking note of. Although it is still early days, the Ministers responsible for coordination of the BNC may wish to reflect on how best to celebrate this important milestone in our bilateral relations.
Once more, I welcome you, my dear Brother and your delegation.
I look forward to receiving reports from Ministers and Senior Officials who have been meeting for the past three days.
I thank you.