Zuma, Kabila discuss trade relations

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma says growth can only happen through effective partnerships and greater cooperation among African countries.

"It is this greater economic partnership that can help us grow and better the lives of our people," Zuma said, speaking after his meeting with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila on Friday.

The two statesmen met as part of the annual Bi-National Commission (BNC) established between South Africa and the DRC in 2004.

The BNC is aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries in the area of trade, peace, security, defence and economic development, among others.

"We are very encouraged, the meeting was very successful," Zuma said, adding that he was committed to continuing bilateral relations with the northern African country.

"We emerged from this summit in agreement that our efforts need greater focus and application," he said.

South Africa recognised that its growth and development can only come from greater trade investment.

Kabila, who has just been presented with the task of leading the Southern African Development Community (SADC), described the BNC as "very successful". He said that the DRC was equally determined to strengthen the relations which have existed between the two countries for the past five years.

"We will do so not only for our nations but for the benefit of our people," said Kabila.

Both leaders agreed that much progress has been made since the last BNC, especially in the implementation of the existing bilateral projects and have committed to work together to address the two countries' developmental challenges.

They also reaffirmed their commitment to improve and strengthen economic relations by encouraging among business associations in SA and DRC.

Kabila confirmed that plans were afoot for an agreement that will see South African farmers doing business in the DRC. "We are waiting for the law to be adopted and then we can sign the agreement," he said.