Media remarks by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma at the end of the official talks with His Excellency the Governor General of Canada, Mr David Johnston

21 May 2013

Photo of: President Jacob Zuma
Your Excellency, Governor General David Johnston 
Distinguished members of your delegation,
Ministers, Deputy Ministers,
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

It is my honour and privilege to welcome His Excellency the Governor General to our country for this State Visit.

I thank you Governor General, for undertaking this visit; for us, it is very significant. 

Our two countries already have growing and warm bilateral relations, most notably arranged through the Annual Consultations that were inaugurated in 2003.

Our relations are based on shared values in support of equality, democracy, peace, security and prosperity. 

Our strong ties today are rooted in Canada’s role in the anti-Apartheid Movement and international community which at the time pressurised the National Party regime during the 1970s to dismantle its apartheid system.

Canada advocated strongly the establishment of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society for all South Africans. 

Since South Africa's transition from apartheid and its first democratic elections nearly twenty years ago, relations between our two countries have been friendly and cooperative.

South Africa has enjoyed Canada's support during our entry into a broad range of multilateral organisations. 

Our two countries have worked closely on important multilateral issues, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the World Trade Organization, and the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. The group investigates allegations of serious and persistent violations of human rights and democratic principles and recommends measures for collective Commonwealth action.

Many of you will remember that South Africa's Constitution and Bill of Rights draws heavily on Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

Your Excellency, 

I am happy that we have prioritized economic cooperation during this visit.

I am certain that our mutual interest in recovering from the global economic downturn of the last decade will certainly lead to fresh ways of addressing job creation, skills development, education and infrastructure as espoused in South Africa’s National Development Plan and Canada’s National Budget for 2013 or as the Canadians refer to it, as the Economic Action Plan.

To help achieve this, I would like to draw further attention to opportunities in our infrastructure development priorities in South Africa which we are prioritising. 

We also urge support for infrastructure development in the African continent, especially the North-South corridor that I have been asked to champion by my African brothers and sisters in the African Union.

I hope that Canada will take advantage of the opportunities for trade and investment within the region. 

I also believe that we can strengthen our relationship in the mineral resources sector and develop a robust mining industry where we have seen a reduced corporate tax rate and more clarity of government policy. 

South Africa continues to seek partnerships in Foreign Direct Investment. 

We believe that South Africa offers good prospects for countries like Canada and I believe that after your visit you will help promote investments in South Africa by Canadians. 

The Canadian International Development Agency is globally renowned for the valuable aid that it delivers to various African countries.

Consequently,  as South Africa we would welcome a partnership in this regard as we officially launch the South African Development Partnership Agency (SADPA).

We saw fruitful ideas sweeping through Rideau Hall recently, when you addressed African Ambassadors accredited to Canada on 22 April 2013 on Education Partnerships with Africa, where you said:

“Canada and the African continent are above all characterized by great diversity—of peoples, cultures and geographies. 

Canada and African countries have also historically faced a number of common challenges—the problem of brain drain, for example, and how to reverse it."

You added that Canadians and Africans share a concern for the well-being of our young people, who have such energy and creative potential.

Your Excellency,

Thank you, for the seriousness with which you are taking Education partnerships.

For you, as for us, the nurturing a young minds is a top priority. 

We recognise the need to invest in Africa and other developing countries to enable them to become peaceful and prosperous, and take their rightful place in the global community. 

We, as partners from the South and the North, have a unique opportunity to work together to change the lives of millions of people across the continent. 

As we mark the African Union’s golden jubilee in a few days time, on the 25th of May 2013, it is critical that we build a strong and well-resourced AU to take forward the promotion of peace, security and the socio-economic advancement of the continent.

Your visit, Governor General, comes soon after the 5th BRICS Summit that we hosted in Durban in March this year first on African soil. A week ago we hosted the World Economic Forum.

We value our partnerships with the world. 

Therefore, we are also truly pleased to host our esteemed guest, His Excellency the Governor General and his delegation on this historic occasion. 

We are very pleased with the outcomes of our discussions and look forward to partnership in growth to the mutual benefit of our two countries. 

I thank you.

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