President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded a successful visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo where together with President Félix Tshisekedi, co-chaired the Heads of State and Government segment of the 12th session of the DRC –South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC).
The BNC which was held today, 06 July 2023, at Palais de la Nation, renewed commitment by both countries to further enhance and nurture the existing bilateral trade and political relations.
The Presidential segment of the BNC was preceded by the Senior Official meeting on 01-03 July 2023 and the Ministerial Sectoral meeting on 04-05 July 2023.
The BNC was conducted through the agreed structure between the two counties, which provides for the establishment of four (04) Sectoral Committees: Political and Governance Sectoral Commission; Defence and Security Sectoral Commission; Economy, Finance and Infrastructure Sectoral Commission and Social and Humanitarian Sectoral Commission.
To this effect, the leaders have acknowledged the existence of thirty-eight (38) Agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and welcomed the 81 decisions taken during the Ministerial session of the BNC. President Ramaphosa and his Congolese counterpart directed the relevant Ministers to conclude the review of these legal instruments by the end of October 2023 and accelerate the implementation of all agreements.
These legal instruments cover a wide range of areas including, amongst others, Agriculture, Defence, Trade and Investment, Health, Police, Energy, Public Service and Administration, Cooperative Governance, Transport, Diplomatic Cooperation, Humanitarian Support and Immigration.
The Heads of State and Government also discussed issues of mutual interest and appraised each other on economic, political, and security situations in the Region, particularly in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the outcome of the Quadripartite Summit held on 27 June 2023 in Luanda under the auspices of the African Union.
The leaders also reflected on other global issues of mutual interest where’re they iterated their common view that the Russia- Ukraine war requires dialogue and negotiation between the parties, as does the devastating conflict in Sudan. The two Presidents called on the parties in both countries to cease hostilities permanently and to give effect to the AU and UN objectives of silencing guns in pursuit of peace and security across the globe.
The leaders also participated in the Business Forum held on the margins of the BNC session, which explored opportunities for enhanced trade and possible trade and investment between the two counties with a particular focus on four key sectors of Agriculture & Agro-processing, Energy & Infrastructure, Health & Pharmaceuticals and Mining.
On economic cooperation, the Heads of State and Government directed the respective Ministers of Trade to resolve identified impediments with a view to increasing trade and investment between the two countries.
In this regard, the Heads of State and Government noted the strategic importance of the Grand INGA Hydropower Project between South Africa and the DRC to jointly develop the Project with the potential to produce more than 40 000 Mega Watts (MW) of hydropower from the Congo River.
On immigration, the leaders agreed that further consultations will be necessary to finalise all relevant modalities that will result in a mutually favourable visa regime.