South Africa and France have agreed to strengthen bilateral relations following their 8th South Africa – France Forum for Political Dialogue (8th FPD).
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and her French counterpart, Jean-Yves le Drian, co-chaired the meeting that took place in Tshwane on Thursday.
It was the first time that the forum was led at ministerial level.
“During the meeting, the two Ministers expressed the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of France’s commitment to regular, structured bilateral meetings at ministerial level; defend the democratic values which they share and promote strong multilateralism,” said DIRCO in a statement.
The Ministers also agreed to increase cooperation within the framework of the G20 and in the United Nations Security Council, of which South Africa is a non-permanent member for the period 2019 to 2020.
In addition, the Ministers further agreed to reduce global inequality, in partnership with Africa, under France’s G7 Presidency, and continue to support the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the common vision on the environment and human rights.
The Minister agreed to a number of bilateral interactions and cooperation, which include:
- Regular interaction and deliberation on addressing peace, security and development concerns in Africa;
- Deepen the working relationship between the African Union, European Union and the United Nations to bolster peace keeping, security, governance and promoting democracy in Africa;
- Increase cooperation in the Indian Ocean and continue discussions about France’s role in the Indian Ocean Rim Association;
- Conclude arrangements for the 2019 Ministerial Joint Economic Commission in South Africa, to advance trade and investment relations;
- Conclude the implementation of the South Africa – France Partnership Framework 2016 to 2019 and to renew the Framework during the 9th Forum for Political Dialogue in 2020.
During the forum, the Ministers signed new agreements, namely the:
- Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Basic Education;
- Declaration of Intent on Establishing a Co-funded Scholarship for Masters and PhD Students;
- Framework Agreement between the South African National Space Agency and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales in Space Cooperation;
- Credit Facility Agreement between the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited (IDC) and Agence Française de Developpement (AFD);
- Financing Agreement between the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited and Agence Française de Developpement;
- Memorandum of Understanding between La Réunion National Park (PNR) and South African National Parks (SANParks);
- Cooperation Protocol between the Association pour le Centre de ressources et d’appui sur le risque requin à La Réunion (ACRAR) of the French Republic and the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board of the Republic of South Africa.
Ministers also agreed to continue exploring joint opportunities in the areas discussed during the 8th FPD, including:
- Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) development support to South Africa;
- Basic Education Cooperation;
- Higher Education and Training Cooperation;
- Public service capacity development notably between the National School of Government (NSG) and Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA);
- Science, Technology, Innovation and Research Cooperation;
- Trade and Investment Exchanges and regular bilateral reviews;
- Energy Cooperation with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy;
- Transport Cooperation;
- Health Cooperation;
- Arts and Culture Cooperation; and
- Support to South African civil society organisations.
Concluding the meeting, the Ministers agreed to schedule the next FPD meeting in Paris on mutually agreed dates during the course of 2020. – SAnews.gov.za