Opening Remarks by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane at the Ministerial Session of the 9th Bi-National Commission between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa, 15 October 2015

Your Excellency, Mr Raymond Tshibanda, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of Congo;

Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers from the DRC and South Africa;

Your Excellency, Mr Mpoko, Ambassador of the DRC to South Africa;

Your Excellency, Mr Mashimbye, Ambassador of South Africa to the DRC;

Senior Officials from our respective Governments;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On this important occasion of the 9th session of the Bi-National Commission between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of South Africa, it is my honour to extend through you, Your Excellency, to the Government and the peoples of the DRC, the warmest greetings and sincere gratitude for the warm reception extended to me and the rest of the South African delegation. We greatly appreciate the hospitality given to us.

Your Excellency Co-Chair

I concur with the sentiments you have just expressed in your welcoming remarks. It was in January 2004 that our two nations concluded the General Cooperation Agreement, an Agreement that seeks to promote political, economic and social cooperation between South Africa and the DRC. It is an Agreement by which we codify our political aspirations and objectives to underpin our strategic cooperation. All the subsequent bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding between our two countries were facilitated by this Agreement. Fundamentally, this Agreement is a backbone of our structured bilateral cooperation. The launch of our Bi-National Commission (BNC) in August 2004 followed from this important instrument.

Ladies and gentlemen,

If we look back at what we have managed to achieve in our bilateral cooperation since 2004, we see a commendable progress. In the three areas of cooperation which are defence and security cooperation, there is a noticeable progress as demonstrated by the number of trained battalions as well as the ongoing police training.

Equally on the second area of cooperation which is the institutional capacity building, there is a demonstrable progress as shown by the completion of the public servants census in all but one province. Part of the achievements in this area includes the training of diplomats and senior civil servants; and establishment of the National School for Public Administration to train DRC’s public servants.

In the third area of cooperation, namely economic cooperation, there is progress. The identification and implementation of Bas Congo Corridor is an evident example. More needs to be done in this field.

Your Excellency, Co-chair

One important evidence of progress is the existence of thirty-five agreements and memoranda of understanding. The number of these legal instruments shows the scope and the depth of our sectoral cooperation. The signing of the Treaty on the development of the Grand Inga Hydropower Project by our two governments in October 2013 was a seminal milestone in our cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We can safely declare that the first decade of our BNC has been a resounding success. The question that should occupy our minds is what should constitute the content of the second decade of the BNC. In this regard, we hope that the report of our senior officials who have been meeting in the past two days will begin to identify the key content of our work for the next ten years.

It is evident though that one key major matter that should occupy us moving forward is the identification and implementation of economic projects. Key in this regard will be the implementation of the Grand Inga Hydro Power Project and many other projects in agriculture, infrastructure; corridor development; etc.

Of course, we will continue to cooperate in defence and security as well as in all other sectors such as institutional cooperation; cooperation in health, education, etc.

Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentleman,

I wish this Ministerial meeting successful deliberations and I equally look forward to the reports of our senior officials.

Co-Chair
We thank you once more for the hospitality extended to us. May I take this opportunity as I conclude my remarks to congratulate your Government for building this majestic Government Building.

I thank you

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