Closing Remarks by Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation on the occasion of the Ministerial Session of the Ninth Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between the Republic of South Africa and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Pretoria, 2 October 2019

My Dear Brother, Honourable Minister, Mr Geoffrey, Onyeama

Honourable Ministers,

Your Excellencies,

Senior Officials from our respective Governments,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have come to the end of a very constructive and fruitful day. The positive reports tabled here today from the various sectoral committees attest to this.

I am encouraged to note that since our last BNC of May 2012, there has been commendable progress on the implementation of Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding. While we note the thirty-two bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding, we have nonetheless emphasised the need that these agreements should be fully implemented for the mutual benefit of our peoples.

The report on new agreements that are almost ready for signing is also very encouraging. Your Excellency, we are indeed moving our countries forward.

The vibrancy of our interactions at various levels is also worth noting. I must say that I am very pleased to have noted the enormous work done by our South African and Nigerian departments and I am content with the valuable progress made since our last BNC in May 2012.

Honourable Minister,

While we are doing significantly well, we have also noted that there is more that still needs to be done in order for our countries to fully benefit from our bilateral cooperation. I would like to urge our departments to prioritise the completion of Agreements and MoUs that are in the pipeline and that they ensure the signing and implementation thereof.

We need to continue to work collaboratively as partners for the betterment of the lives of our people, the region and the continent.

As expressed in the deliberations and the reports tabled here today, there is an urgent need for both of our countries to continue to intensify interactions in economic cooperation and infrastructure development,  energy sector, agriculture, mining as well as arts and culture, communication technology, among other key areas in our bilateral cooperation.

There is a need to pay particular focus on economic cooperation, encouraging further trade and investment and strategic cooperation between our State Owned Companies as well as the our security services.

Honourable Minister,

I wish to thank everyone for the discussions of today and of the hard work of the past few days. I also wish to thank the participation of my fellow Ministers today and I believe I speak on their behalf that this was indeed a constructive meeting with the potential of enhancing our relations at all levels.

Tomorrow, the Ministerial Co-Chairs will report to our Principals on progress made. I am confident that our Heads of State will welcome our progress report but I have an inclination that they will as a matter of fact, challenge us to work even harder towards the attainment of the commitments made in this report, towards improving the lives of our people.

Honourable Minister and Co-Chair, it was indeed my pleasure to work with you and to lead this august gathering. Your visit has allowed us to reaffirm the historic and strategic partnership between our two countries. I am looking forward to partnering with you once again in a similar session in 2021 where we as South Africa will be visiting you and your distinguished delegation.

I thank you.


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