Pretoria: The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) Hon. Mashego Dlamini has hailed Uganda’s active engagement to strengthen bilateral cooperation with other countries.
Hon. Dlamini was meeting Ambassador Paul Amoru, the High Commissioner of Uganda to Pretoria at the former’s office on Friday.
Dlamini who welcomed the High Commissioner to South Africa in general but particularly to her Ministry noted that her office is always open for consultation adding that his arrival followed the 2nd Session of the Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC) between Uganda and South Africa held from 7th to 12th July 2022 in Kampala.
She added her voice to that of Dr. Naledi Pandor, the Senior Minister conveying her appreciation to Uganda for hosting South Africa delegates and successfully organizing the JCC.
During the JCC, Minister Pandor delivered an invitation for a State Visit to H.E President Museveni. Mrs. Dlamini expressed that they look forward to receiving the President in South Africa next year; which will undoubtedly further strengthen the warm and strong bilateral relations between the two countries.
‘’Issues of trade and investment are critical and there is need to address all challenges that may hamper expansion of our cooperation and that the way forward is to implement all signed bilateral agreements, review dormant ones as well as explore new areas of cooperation. South Africa is equally encouraged by Uganda’s active engagement to strengthen bilateral cooperation with other countries. Together Uganda and South Africa can exploit new opportunities presented by the post COVID 19 pandemic globally’’, the minister further advised that strong bilateral
relations between African countries and regional economies is essential to the realization of the ideals of the continent’s development Agenda 2063 – ‘the Africa we want’.
She noted that Uganda is known for her unwavering commitment to the realization of the ideals of Pan-Africanism, promotion of sovereignty and independence of all African nations as well championing regional integration.
In return, Ambassador Amoru thanked the Minister for hosting him. He revealed that his posting to Pretoria came at the critical time when Uganda was hosting the 2nd JCC – where he held key engagements with senior officials across different sectors and departments from Uganda and South Africa during the JCC conference.
Ambassador Amoru further briefed the Minister about the tours to ESKOM operated electricity generation plants in Jinja, and as well as to the OR Tambo School of Leadership in Kaweweta, where an ANC camp was hosted in from late 1980s to early 1990s and 14 fallen ANC comrades who were laid to rest.
He added that a statue in honor of former President Nelson Mandela was also unveiled at Uganda’s national stadium in Kampala.
‘’The Mission recently held a meeting with the Directorate of EAC which largely focused on the implementation of the outcomes of the JCC and the invitation of H.E President Museveni for a State Visit to South Africa. Uganda is committed to implementing the outcomes and decisions taken at the 2nd JCC held in Kampala last July’’, he said.
Key areas of cooperation covered include among others: International Relations & Cooperation; Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural
Development; Communications and Digital Technologies; Cooperation between the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); Correctional Services; Defense; Mineral Resources and Energy Mining, Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Cooperation Framework; Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment; Health; Higher Education and Training; Cooperation on Immigration Matters; Employment and Labor; Public Works and Infrastructure; Science & Innovation; Sports, Arts & Culture;
Tourism, Trade, Industry and Competition including cooperation on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Transport, Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities among others.
The Ambassador expressed that he will focus on Economic and Commercial diplomacy aiming at further boosting trade and investment between the 2 countries. He however noted the unfavorable Balance of Trade position in favor of the South Africa and thanked his host for the commitment to open its markets to Ugandan products and services. He also appreciated the acceptance of resumption of Uganda Airlines commercial direct flights to Johannesburg which in turn will boost trade and deepen the people to people relations and cooperation.
Amoru also used the opportunity to seek South Africa’s support for Uganda’s candidature for re-election to the International Telecommunications Union Council for the period 2022-2026 at an election scheduled during the Plenipotentiary conference from 26th September to 14th October,2022 in Bucharest, Romania.
The Ambassador also briefed the meeting on new developments in the East African region. These included the DR Congo joining the East African Community after signing the Treaty of Accession and the associated benefits, the graduation of the first batch of unified armed forces of South Sudan and the successful national elections in Kenya.
In return, the Minister briefed the meeting on updates in the SADC region. These included the insecurity in Mozambique, the political and cultural developments in Eswatini, and the upcoming national elections in Lesotho.