Zuma signs economic agreements with Republic of Congo

2010-04-08 15:02

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma on Thursday described the visit by Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso as a fitting reminder of the determination of African countries to forge their own destinies.

Earlier that day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the two presidents signed agreements on economic cooperation, maritime transport and arts and culture.

Zuma said these would lay the basis for greater economic interaction between the two regions and also expressed their commitment to ensuring that sufficient attention was given to the effects of climate change for Africa.

“They underline our commitment to a common future of prosperity and progress,” he said.

“We are convinced that there is much to be gained for both our countries from closer cooperation.”

Sassou-Nguesso’s visit with a business delegation took place almost five years since the state visit by former President Thabo Mbeki to the Republic of Congo.

Talks between the Congolese and South African business delegations, which Zuma said he was looking forward to, would take place on Friday.

“Like them, we appreciate the potential that exists for greater trade and investment between the two countries,” he said, also highlighting that there were “lots of opportunities” for development in Congo.

“Congo has vast forest reserves and an abundance of water. The Congo river and many other lakes in your country present opportunities for the development of a rich fishing industry, especially for commercial purposes and export.”

Zuma spoke of South Africa’s keenness to participate in the development of that country’s agricultural sector and the generation of electricity through hydro-power schemes.

He also announced the launch of the Joint Commission for Cooperation which they had agreed to establish in 2003, which aims to deepen cooperation.

The two presidents were then heading to Freedom Park for a wreath-laying ceremony.

Zuma described the park as a “symbol of the struggles of people across the continent to determine their own future”. – Sapa

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