Opening remarks by President Jacob Zuma on the Occasion of the Second Session of the Bi-National Commission between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Namibia, Pretoria
Your Excellency, President Hage Geingob;
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Our respective High Commissioners;
Senior Government Officials;
Ladies and gentlemen;
Good morning to you all.
Let me first thank you, Mr President, for accepting my invitation to the second Session of our Bi-National Commission, which we are happy to host.
We extend our warm welcome and fraternal greetings to you and your esteemed delegation. We hope that you will enjoy your short visit to our shores.
We meet here this morning on the occasion of the second Session of our strategic Bi-National Commission (BNC), which is a mechanism that seeks to help us to coordinate and facilitate bilateral relations between our sister Republics.
This meeting therefore underscores our collective commitment to the consolidation of our bilateral cooperation and strategic partnership.
The BNC provides us with a platform to assess progress in all areas of cooperation and most importantly, it provides us with an opportunity to expand the areas of cooperation for the mutual benefits our respective countries and peoples.
Mr President and Comrade,
Informed by our political and historical relations, we consciously and correctly decided in 2012 to elevate our bilateral cooperation through the establishment of the BNC. It was during our state visit to your beautiful country in 2013 that we inaugurated our BNC.
Since the 2013 Windhoek meeting, I am informed that there has been significant and demonstrable progress in many areas of our bilateral cooperation. Sectoral meetings have been held and important steps have been taken to implement decisions.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We note with appreciation the existence of seventy one (71) bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding.
The existence of so many agreements between our countries demonstrates the depth of bilateral cooperation. Critically important though is a need to ensure their full and timely implementation.
We need to prioritise economic cooperation, focusing on projects that have a cross-border dimension consistent with the SADC Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan and the Southern African Customs Union transformation agenda.
It is in the interest of the region that we work hard to increase intra-regional trade based on the complementarities that exist between our countries.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We will take advantage of this BNC to look at the latest regional, continental and international issues of mutual concern.
We are happy though that by and large our region, Southern Africa, is relatively peaceful. Where there are challenges, we collectively work together to find solutions.
We remain concerned about ongoing conflicts in some of our sister countries in the Continent. In this regard, we need to redouble our efforts and initiatives to resolve these conflicts, many of which continue to cause human suffering and displacement. These conflicts put brakes on our march towards 2020 when we want to silence the guns.
I am informed that you launched yesterday the Namibian International Investment Conference in Johannesburg. I commend and congratulate you, Mr President, for this great initiative.
I trust that the Conference will result in increased economic cooperation between our two countries.
We need more private sector investment in our respective countries to create the required job opportunities.
In this regard, we continue to appreciate the large presence of South African companies in Namibia which are involved in various sectors such as housing, food and beverages, construction, retail, hotels and leisure, banking, medical services, etc.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In conclusion, we need to work with greater speed to enhance our cooperation consistent with the historical bonds that bind our countries and peoples. Our people expect more from us and we dare not fail in our collective resolve to improve their lives.
Your Excellency and Dear Comrade,
We, once more, welcome you to South Africa and we are truly honoured to host you and your delegation.
I thank you for your attention.
Source: South African Government.