Remarks by H.E. Mr JG Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa at the Joint Media Briefing during the State Visit to Senegal
01 October 2013
Your Excellency, Mr Macky Sall
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have just completed successful bilateral talks between South Africa and Senegal.
Let me thank His Excellency President Macky Sall for inviting me to undertake this State Visit, the first by a South African head of state to Senegal.
We feel at home in this country because South Africa and Senegal have enjoyed close and historical ties of solidarity dating back to the period of our struggles for freedom and independence.
We acknowledge the pivotal role that Senegal played in the liberation struggle of South Africa during dark days of apartheid.
We have not forgotten the important role played by Senegal’s first President, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and the people of Senegal in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid.
The visit has certainly taken relations between the two countries to a higher level and a lot has been accomplished within the auspices of the South Africa-Senegal Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC).
We have certainly established the necessary foundation for an accelerated bilateral cooperation.
We are pleased that two agreements have been concluded, namely;
• The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture;
• An Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Arts and Culture.
The signing of these of these two agreements demonstrates that both people-to-people relations, as well as agro-industrial partnership for development are important to our relationship.
We have also agreed on the need to unlock the economic potential between our two countries through economic co-operation that includes industrial and technological partnership, and the transfer of skills.
The creation of tourism, infrastructure, food security, retail, communication and energy investment projects, just to mention a few sectors,
will ensure that impetus for the growth and development we need.
We also believe that there is considerable scope for bilateral cooperation in the following areas of mutual interest: trade and economic development, energy, security (defence capacity building), environment, mining and mining beneficiation, agriculture, water purification as well as employment or job creation.
The South Africa-Senegal Business Forum that will meet tomorrow will hopefully find many areas of economic cooperation in investments in the two economies.
Your Excellency we have also discussed the need to strengthen the African Union to ensure that it plays its role effectively to promote socio-economic development and peace and stability in the continent.
We therefore need to contribute more to the building of stronger the Regional Economic Communities which are the building blocks of the African Union.
Both of us are also only too aware of the importance of investing in infrastructure development in the continent so that we can better promote regional economic integration, intra-Africa trade and tourism.
Therefore, the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee which is ably led by Your Excellency, and the NEPAD High-Level Sub-Committee on Infrastructure and the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative that South Africa leads, are important structures for taking Africa’s sustainable development plans forward.
Our two countries have a history of promoting Africa’s development having worked together to promote the New Partnership for Africa’s Development since its inception.
We have a duty to take this legacy of our two countries forward and make the NEPAD a success in order to take Africa’s development agenda.
South Africa and Senegal continue to play an important role in promoting peace and stability through participating in peacekeeping and peacemaking operations in our respective regions.
We have thus discussed increased defence cooperation so that we can further improve our capability and participation in making Africa a more peaceful and stable continent.
Our two countries also share strong democratic traditions and will continue to cooperate in promoting democracy, good governance and human rights in our continent and the world at large.
We also wish to work with Senegal to promote a more equitable and just world order.
We are in particular keen to see a speedier transformation of international multilateral institutions especially the United Nations Security Council so that it can be more representative, democratic and responsive to the needs of Africa and the developing world.
We also look forward Your Excellency, to the Summit in Addis Ababa next week to discuss the International Criminal Court and its role. These are all matters that Africa needs to unite on and push the interest of the peoples of Africa more strongly.
I wish to thank you, Your Excellency for the warm and friendly manner in which my delegation and I have been received, and the excellent arrangements that have been made.
The discussions have laid a firm foundation for future cooperation.
Ministers in the portfolios represented in this visit, and other areas that we have agreed upon will certainly take the work forward.
I thank you.