SA, Rwanda agree to cooperate in various sectors

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cape Town - Bi-lateral relations between South Africa and Rwanda are set to advance with both countries agreeing to cooperate further in areas of public administration, science and technology, business, sports and recreation among others.

Briefing reporters after the South Africa-Rwanda Joint Commission of Co-operation (JCC) meeting on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who co-chaired the meeting with her counterpart Rosemary Museminali, said the two countries were upbeat about the advancement of their bilateral relations.

The two signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Water Affairs and Forestry, an agreement on co-operation in the fields of arts and culture and an agreement on science and technology.

"We also agreed on cooperation in public sector training and development. We also looked at issues like justice and a number of sectors where we are already cooperating like police services," Minister Dlamini-Zuma said.

The minister further said issues that cover the Rwandese where also discussed such as the options of study permits for students.

"We also talked about the agreement that we could have so that Rwandan students could be treated as SADC as it has been agreed by both Presidents," she said, adding that it would be looked into.

The JCC also included discussion on trade and industry and the central development corridor which is important for the transportation of goods and people.

Minister Museminali reiterated the need to maintain momentum and carry out the decisions of the JCC within the spirit of the General Cooperation Agreement between South Africa and Rwanda.

The minister also congratulated South Africa on its peaceful campaign ahead of its fourth democratic elections and wished the country well.

In accordance with the General Cooperation Agreement, the ministers agreed that the Sixth session of the South Africa - Rwanda JCC will convene in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2011 at a date to be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.

South Africa and Rwanda signed the General Agreement on Bilateral Co-operation in 1999 for the establishment of a JCC at a ministerial level which provides a formal framework for concrete direction to bilateral relations in a wide range of areas.

The establishment of a strategic partnership between South Africa and Rwanda in promoting the objectives of the African Union and the African development agenda within the framework of the JCC and NEPAD, is underscored by a high-level engagement between South Africa and Rwandan public and private sector stakeholders.