Closing Remarks by Mr Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, on the conclusion of the Second South Africa – Ireland JCC, 22 February 2022

Your Excellency,

I thank you for the fruitful and frank deliberations today. We have come to the formal conclusion of the Second Session of the South Africa-Ireland JCC and exchanged views on a comprehensive spectrum of issues that are of strategic importance. On behalf of my government, I would like to reiterate our commitment to continue strengthening the important and historic partnership between our respective countries.

South Africa - Ireland relations have a long history and we are tremendously grateful that we have been a recipient of Irish Development Aid over many years, in areas which include education, health and agriculture. The Irish Government and its people remain friends to South Africa, and it is our hope that the relationship will flourish even further going forward.

The positive outcomes of the Second JCC Meeting is evidence of our joint commitment to work as equal partners in enhancing our good relations and by further identifying and moving into new areas of opportunity, such as tourism, energy, sport, arts and culture as well as working together to end gender-based violence in South Africa and elsewhere in the world. Also, more work needs to be done in strengthening efforts for increased trade and investment.

As a government, we are committed to promoting our national priorities through our National Development Plan and from what has been agreed upon in the Joint Communiqué, I can, without hesitation, say that the outcomes will play a large role in supporting my government’s efforts to overcome the triple challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty.

Both our regions face tremendous political and social challenges, and more often than not, these challenges also confront South Africa and Ireland as individual countries. However, through bilateral partnerships such as ours and the political will and commitment, we will overcome these challenges.

As we close this meeting, we do so with a strong sense of optimism. I am confident that all of you will live up to this challenge and renew your efforts in the various Working Groups in support of this process.

Let us build on the strong foundations of our partnership to secure a better future for South Africa, for Ireland, for Africa and the world.

I wish to thank everyone for their hard work and preparation for this meeting.

Your Excellency, it is our wish that you enjoy the rest of your short stay in South Africa and enjoy what this beautiful country and its people have to offer.

I am looking for travelling to the beautiful city of Dublin to co-chair the Third Session of the SA - Ireland JCC.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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