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South Africa: SA and Zambia Boost Cooperation for Regional Development
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Thursday, December 22, 2016
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Knowledge Management in Government, Internet Governance
Country: South Africa
Created: Dec 22, 2016

The inaugural session is being held ahead of a State visit to South Africa by the President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, who will be hosted by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday.

Speaking at the opening session, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said relations between the two sister republics have given rise to cooperation in many fields in the past.

The JCC, therefore, is an important milestone that beckons South Africa and Zambia bilaterally in the right direction, the Minister said.

“This inauguration of the JCC presents us with immense opportunities to consolidate and strengthen exchanges in trade and investment between our two countries and also to enhance bilateral relations for the mutual benefit of our people,” Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.

This view was also echoed by Minister Kalaba, who was keen to “explore and expand further in more areas of cooperation so as to create value for our people while addressing poverty, unemployment and inequality”.

To date, 21 agreements and memoranda of understanding in various fields have been signed between two countries. However, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said there might be a need to review some of these pacts to ensure that they are still relevant and give impetus to bilateral relations.

“It is essential that mutually beneficial economic ties and investment flows continue to grow between our two countries, as these are the foundations for mutual benefit and regional integration,” Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.

This is imperative as both economies are currently under tremendous pressure due to difficult economic dynamics brought about by external factors such as global commodity prices, fluctuating currencies, shrinking GDP growth and natural disasters such as the El Nino drought phenomenon, which has affected the entire SADC region.

“It remains an inevitable move to realign our national development plans, to embark on targeted joint efforts in order to collectively alleviate the ensuing external negative economic impacts,” said the Minister.

Honouring historic ties

South Africa also used the opportunity to thank Zambia for declaring the house that was occupied by the leader and the President of the ANC, Oliver Reginald Tambo, as a National heritage.

“We are indeed humbled by this noble gesture… Your daring provision of sanctuary to our liberation struggle and combatants was sure to provoke the fury of the apartheid regime, yet you remained resolute to continue the fight for our freedom.

“The people of South Africa are indebted to the people of Zambia for their gallant contributions in the fight to liberate us from the apartheid repression,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.

Zambia played a key role in the liberation of the region. It hosted liberation movements and was the country of residence for South Africa’s then future leaders such as President Thabo Mbeki, President Jacob Zuma, former Deputy President and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, among others.

Steady two-way trade

Economic relations between South Africa and Zambia continue to grow, with the 2015 two-way trade statistics indicating that Zambia is one of South Africa’s top trading partners on the continent.

Zambia is also ranked as South Africa’s top 10 import sources in the world.

The two countries cooperate in a variety of areas including trade and investment, science and technology, defence, agriculture, environment, energy, as well as health related matters.

There are over 120 South African companies doing business in Zambia in various sectors, including telecommunications, aviation, tourism, banking, property, retail, entertainment and fast food. 

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