Opening Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during Official Talks on the occasion of the State Visit by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, 28 February 2023
Your Excellency, my dear brother President Yoweri Museveni,
High Commissioners of South Africa and Uganda,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Members of delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome, Mr President, to you and your delegation.
South Africa is proud of its deep fraternal ties with Uganda that date back to the struggles against colonialism and apartheid.
At great risk and sacrifice, Uganda stood firm in its support for the goals of our liberation struggle and contributed materially to help us achieve them.
On behalf of all South Africans allow me to express our appreciation to the people of Uganda for their contribution to our freedom.
Relations between our two countries are based on the principles of mutual respect, the promotion of Pan-Africanism and a commitment to the emancipation of women and the attainment of gender equality.
This State Visit is taking place after the successful Second Joint Commission for Cooperation held in Kampala in July 2022.
We have an opportunity to assess the state of these relations and evaluate progress on the implementation of decisions taken at that meeting.
I am advised that steady progress has been made in resolving some of the challenges relating to trade and investment between our countries. Our government ministries are in regular contact with each other.
As further demonstration of our strong relations, today we will sign several Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements, covering social, economic, legal and scientific cooperation.
It is our wish that our excellent and enduring political relations must translate into development and prosperity for our peoples and countries.
By increasing trade and investment, our economies will grow, become more productive and diverse, and create more job opportunities.
We therefore welcome the South Africa-Uganda Business Forum that is currently underway and that we will attend later today.
The business forum brings together our respective private sectors and state-owned companies to explore new opportunities for trade and investment in each other’s economies.
I sincerely hope that the Ugandan delegates are showcasing opportunities for investment and procurement in Uganda’s burgeoning oil and gas sector.
South Africa would most certainly be interested in being part of this economic development in Uganda.
It does not make economic nor political sense for African countries to trade with and procure from countries abroad when the services, finances, commodities, and products are available right here on the continent.
Current global developments clearly illustrate the urgent need to fully operationalise the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The AfCFTA presents huge economic opportunities to grow intra-Africa trade and deepen bilateral cooperation and continental integration.
Increased intra-Africa trade will propel the growth of our economies and contribute towards continental stability and prosperity.
We need to ensure that the outstanding signatories to the Tripartite Free Trade Area come on board to ensure the TFTA comes into force so that countries can start reaping its benefits.
South Africa sees Uganda as an important partner in East Africa. We appreciate your contribution to regional economic and political integration as well as regional peace and stability.
As a continent we need to continue to work towards the peaceful resolution of conflict and emphasise dialogue over military confrontation.
South Africa remains deeply concerned about recent developments in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. We strongly condemn the upsurge of conflict, being fuelled by armed groups. We call on all parties involved to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the DRC.
South Africa strongly believes in African solutions to African problems.
In this respect, we welcome efforts and initiatives of the East African Community to restore peace and stability to the eastern DRC.
We support the call for dialogue among Member States of the EAC and SADC that have deployed forces to the DRC.
We further support the call for the establishment of mechanisms to effectively coordinate continental interventions in the DRC.
The historical peace agreement signed in Pretoria on the 2nd of November 2022 to end the two-year conflict that racked the Tigray region of Ethiopia shows what is possible.
The agreement marks an important milestone in the AU-led mediation process in pursuit of peaceful resolution of conflict.
South Africa looks forward to continuing good cooperation at the African Union Peace and Security Council, as both our countries are members until 2024.
It is vital that like-minded countries such as South Africa and Uganda work together in the Peace and Security Council and on other multilateral platforms.
This conflict between Russia and Ukraine has caused volatility in the global economy and has had a negative impact on the developing world.
We need to ensure that the resultant shift in global dynamics does not distract us from pursing our developmental agendas.
South Africa continues to advocate for global solidarity, for the primacy of multilateralism, for the reform of the United Nations system, in particular the UN Security Council, and for a rules-based international order.
We wish Uganda well in implementing its Vision 2040 and the Uganda National Plan. This will lead to prosperity not only for Uganda, but also for the East African region and the continent.
Your Excellency, I wish to welcome you once again to South Africa. I look forward to our discussions.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency