Opening Remarks by Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, on the occasion of the Ministerial Meeting of the 12th Session of the Bi-National Commission between the Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, 4 July 2023
Your Excellency Mr Christophe Lutundula, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Dear Colleagues, Honourable Ministers from South Africa and DRC,
Chargé D’Affaires of the South African Embassy to the DRC and South African Consul-General to Lubumbashi, DRC,
Directors-General and Heads of State-Owned Entities,
Senior Officials from our respective countries,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Brother and Minister Lutundula,
Let me start by expressing our deepest appreciation for the warm hospitality extended to our delegation since our arrival in Kinshasa. We are heartened by your warm words of welcome. I am looking forward to the ministerial segment of the 12th Session of our Bi-National Commission (BNC).
I am excited that our Heads of State found it within their busy schedules, to convene the long outstanding 12th Session of our BNC. We are here to participate at a gathering of two countries whose relations are strong and based on historic bonds. These are the bonds that keep us together during difficult and pleasant times. We represent people who have shared vision of peace and prosperity. Our relations are inspired by pan-African ideals and solidarity. South Africa and the DRC have featured prominently in each other’s growth path. As South Africa, we see strategic and mutual value in the bilateral relations that must always be guarded and promoted.
The ministerial segment of the 12th Session of our BNC is therefore opportune to assess the status of implementation of our agreed programmes, evaluate the state of legal instruments, and identify new areas of cooperation. I am looking forward to receive a report from our senior officials who have been meeting over the last two days. Our respective ministers will also find time in the sectoral committees to interrogate the reports of the senior officials to ensure that no text is left behind.
Our interactions and consultations within the framework of the BNC bring forth accountability and enhance the implementation of all Agreements that have been signed between our two countries. In this regard, I am pleased to note that thirty-eight (38) Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding in various fields currently exist between our two countries. Furthermore, I am pleased to learn that several Agreements and MoUs between our departments are currently at various stages of completion and will soon be signed and implemented accordingly. We would need to direct our senior officials to review the status of all our legal instrument with a view to establish their continued relevance.
Our main goal and vision is to see real changes in our peoples livelihoods; we want to see our youth educated, trained to become responsible future leaders of our nations; we want to bring women in the fold so that they have full participation in our economies; we want to create sustainable jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities that ensure that our people are independent, self-sustained, enabled and empowered to take charge of their own future and destiny. Until the above is achieved, we will continue to put shoulder on the wheel, one BNC at a time.
We are pleased that there has been engagement and cooperation between government department and state-owned entities of our two countries. Indeed, the scope is wide and continue to increase, particularly in the fields of agriculture, mining, infrastructure development, defence and security, economy and finance, trade and investments as well as social and humanitarian affairs.
I am delighted that the 12th Session of the BNC has also create a platform for our businesspeople to engage in a formal manner through convening a Business Forum which will coincides with the Heads of State Summit of the BNC.
Our respective businesses should leverage the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). It is without doubt that the AfCFTA will thrust us towards the pursuit of beneficial economic integration in the continent. The beneficiation of our natural resources within the shores of our Continent will ensure that full benefit is derived from the value chain and our people realise the much-needed opportunities.
It is only by working together that we can bring forth the change we want. I look forward to our fruitful deliberations and the report prepared by our Senior Officials.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road