The two expressed their satisfaction at the progress that had been made to strengthen the bilateral relations over the past few years and recognised the role of the Joint Bilateral Commission in providing a strategic platform for focusing efforts to bring about closer collaboration on issues of mutual interest, including expanding trade and investments in Africa, reform of the multilateral institutions and peaceful resolution of all conflict and in the Middle East in particular.
Zuma and Mubarak took special note of the progress reported by their Foreign Ministers following the 8th Session of the Joint Bilateral Commission, held in South Africa in March 2010.
South Africa also shares with Egypt the desire to see the eradication of poverty, promotion of sustainable development as well as the attainment of peace and stability within the African continent.
President Zuma and his counterpart further discussed issues affecting the continent such as development, conflict, disease as well as issues of global concern such as climate change and international trade.
A successful South Africa/Egypt Business Forum was held on the margins of the visit, where Egypt has asked support from the South African government to help in their efforts to form a proposed African free trade area.
In terms of the free trade area they would combine the regional trading markets of all five African regions to form a common market economic from Cape to Cairo.
On the issue of establishing a tripartite free trade area becoming a reality, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) has said this would draw in three of the key trade blocs on the continent the [Southern African Development Community or SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC).
“The economic impact of this free trade agreement could be enormous, creating opportunities for the whole continent. We urge that our two countries facilitate the implementation of the already signed agreements, because implementation of existing trade agreements within the regional blocs is a precondition for effectiveness the tripartite free trade agreement,” said President Futhi Mtoba in a statement.
Busa further agreed it was economically imperative that the continent’s two strongest economies cement bilateral trade and investment ties. - BuaNews