Closing Remarks by Minister GNM Pandor at the Fourth Session of the South Africa–Ethiopia Joint Ministerial Commission, Addis Ababa, 31 July 2023
Honourable Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Senior Officials for their excellent work in preparing for this Fourth Sitting of the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC). It is clear that they held comprehensive discussions on pertinent matters of common interest between our governments. The bilateral engagements during this session of the JMC have demonstrated that our relations are becoming increasingly dynamic and diverse, covering a wide range of issues and sectors. During our discussions we exchanged views on the scope, content and context of our bilateral cooperation across many fields, including trade and investment, science and innovation, agriculture, tourism and hospitality, communication, as well as social and cultural issues.
We also reflected on the latest developments in our respective regions, the continent and globally. As you are aware, the African continent offers immense economic opportunities for cooperation and partnerships. Our two countries have to take full advantage of the trade and investment opportunities emanating from the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). South Africa has identified opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, food processing, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure development, oil and gas, energy, mining, waste management, packaging and tourism. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that, as political principals, we will be closely monitoring the cooperative ventures reported to us by our Senior Officials.
Our post-COVID-19 economic strategies need to respond to the reconfigurations in the world economy, as well as to take advantage of new opportunities created by technological innovations. The role of government is to ensure that our laws and regulations facilitate the ease of doing business between our two countries, including the movement of goods and services, as well as businesspeople.
Our cooperation is bolstered by many years of goodwill and political solidarity between our people and governments. It is imperative that South Africans and Ethiopians know and understand the foundations of our relations and the bonds that bind us together. The outcomes of this Fourth Session of the JMC provide a clear roadmap to many more years of fruitful cooperation and the strengthening of our mutually beneficial partnership.
In conclusion, I am privileged to have co-chaired this historic session of our JMC with you. I wish to reiterate our appreciation for your warm hospitality and I look forward to building on our work here and hosting the next meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission in South Africa.
I thank you.
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