The African continent will remain central to South Africa’s foreign policy imperatives, says International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
“Guided by the principles and vision of the National Development Plan (NDP) and South Africa’s national interest, we are driven by a vision to create and achieve a continent that is peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous, which contributes to a world that is just and equitable,” the Minister said on Tuesday when she outlined the priorities and programmes of the department for the 2018/19 financial year.
South Africa’s focus on the continent, according to Minister Sisulu, will be on the strengthening of bilateral relations, the promotion of peace, security and stability, economic cooperation and integration and the enhancement of the African Agenda.
Tshwane has actively participated in bilateral and multilateral efforts to resolve some of the continent’s pressing conflict areas such as Lesotho, the DRC, Madagascar, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia, Central Africa Republic, Mali and Libya. South Africa also remains engaged in the peace and security dynamics of the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Great Lakes Region and the Lake Chad Basin.
In the new financial year, Minister Sisulu said South Africa will continue to play her part in conflict resolution in these countries and respective regions.
“In addition, South Africa reaffirms its continued solidarity to assist the people of Western Sahara in pursuit of their inalienable right to self-determination and decolonisation.”
The Minister reiterated that South Africa remains steadfast in its rejection of all acts of terrorism and extremism that have increasingly affected countries on the continent, contributing negatively to internal instability.
South Africa will also continue to use its membership of the G20 to promote inclusive growth and development.
In this regard, the country, as co-chair of the Development Working Group, will prioritise G20 support for addressing the scourge of illicit financial flows, Industrialisation in Africa and Least Developed Countries, the implementation of the G20 Africa Partnership and enhanced G20 support to developing countries by providing the means of implementation for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
These initiatives, Minister Sisulu said, are aimed at positively impacting the development trajectory of Africa and the developing world and contribute positively to achieving the global commitment of leaving no one behind.
SA ready for BRICS Summit
Meanwhile, the Minister indicated that it’s all systems go for the BRICS 2018 Summit.
South Africa is scheduled to host the 10th BRICS summit from 25 – 27 July at the Sandton Convention Centre, which will see South Africa building on the BRICS programme of development and prosperity for partner countries.
Minister Sisulu said South Africa has proposed new areas of BRICS cooperation, which include a working group on peacekeeping, the establishment of a vaccine research centre, the establishment of the BRICS gender and women forum, the BRICS strategic partnership towards the advancement of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as well as the establishment of the BRICS Tourism Track of Cooperation.
Already, there has been substantive progress achieved since South Africa joined BRICS in 2011, as seen in the launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) in South Africa.
The formation has strengthened its cooperative mechanism for institutional development, most notably witnessed in the creation of the NDB and the recently launched Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg.
The five BRICS countries account for 26% of the world's landmass and are home to 43% of the world's population. The bloc is composed of emerging markets and the developing world. - SAnews.gov.za