The current most
important issue with regard to the Central African region is the strengthening
of bi-lateral relations. Since 2003, SA representation has been established in
Cameroon, Sao Tome, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo and in Chad. An Honorary
Consul is likely to be appointed in the Central African Republic. Following on
the establishment of these Missions has been the signing of a wide range of Agreements.
Mbeki visited Gabon in August 2005 with the accent on strengthening trade and
economic relations between the two countries. A State Visit to the Republic of
Congo took place in November 2005. There have been various contacts at Ministerial
level including visits by Minister Dlamini-Zuma to the region in 2003, 2004 and
Apart from deepening economic co-operation with the region, other
issues of importance are conflict resolution, promotion of good governance, peace
and stability as well as economic reconstruction and development. In this regard,
the specific challenges facing South Africa are to promote peace and stability
and to assist with post-conflict reconstruction and development in the Republic
of Congo, Central African Republic and Sao Tomé and Principé.
addition to the above, other challenges include the promotion of the values of
democracy and good governance and the implementation of sound stable economic
policies. The main areas of focus in this regard are Gabon, Cameroon, Chad and
Positive political developments in the region will
also greatly enhance the potential for the implementation of NEPAD programmes.
NEPAD programmes identified by the regional body, ECCAS (Economic Community of
Central African States) include improving transport links between Gabon and the
Republic of Congo and the DRC, between the Central African Republic and Cameroon
and tourism development projects in Gabon.
The discovery of petroleum in
new areas of the Gulf of Guinea will increasingly benefit most of the countries
of the region, particularly Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe. Chad
too has recently become an oil exporting country and the former "oil economies"
of Gabon and Cameroon are also reaping the rewards of higher oil prices combined
with better exploration techniques. The perceived "easy wealth" brought
by petroleum also has the negative effect of increasing instability in a society.
Political events in the Gulf of Guinea and its hinterland in recent times bear
testimony to this.
Updated: Dec. 2005