SA, Burundi to work at alleviating poverty

2011-08-12 15:38
Johannesburg - South Africa and Burundi have signed agreements to co-operate in agriculture, sports and recreation, economic co-operation and defence, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

"We want to see visible action from this state visit. The memorandum of understanding on economic co-operation concluded during this visit will surely unlock the economic potential between the two countries," Zuma told a South Africa-Burundi business forum in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Zuma arrived in the central African country - where he was very involved in negotiating a ceasefire deal to help end the civil war which raged from 1993 to 2006 -- on Wednesday.

"We enter day two of the visit confident that the two countries will go far in the process of cementing relations that were forged in the trenches of working together for peace and stability in Burundi," Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery.

He said the countries had agreed to co-operate on alleviating poverty through emphasising trade and investment.

"Our departments responsible for trade and industry have been directed to prepare a programme of action that will outline how the two countries will work together to boost investments and increase volumes of trade between the two countries."

Zuma said there were various possible areas of co-operation including tourism, energy, infrastructure development, financial services and transport.

"We will also work together to promote skills development and research through the envisaged partnerships in higher education and training and we have signed an agreement in this regard," he said.

South Africa would deliver 3 000 soccer balls to Burundi youth as a start to co-operating in sports.

"Such engagement at an informal level will surely further cement the good relations between the two countries."

Zuma said the progress made in a short time to develop Bujumbura was inspiring.

"We are moved generally by the atmosphere of achievement and of hard work. Everybody wants to do something to boost development in their country, and this augurs well for the future," he added.

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