South Africa and Angola have signed several agreements which will boost trade and promote people-to-people contact.
On Friday, the two regional powerhouses signed agreements which will see the elevation of the structured bilateral mechanism to the level of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) to be presided over by the Heads of State. They also signed a visa waiver agreement for ordinary passport holders, an agreement on police cooperation and an agreement on customs matters.
The BNC will bring the required momentum to consolidate and deepen bilateral relations in various areas of cooperation, the two countries said.
The visa waiver for ordinary passport holders will facilitate easy movement of people between the two countries. It will enable citizens from both countries entry for a period of 90 days per annum, provided that each visit does not exceed 30 days in total.
This development will have a positive effect on business and leisure tourism but will also open the door for future trade and foreign direct investment.
“It will not only add significant impetus to tourism, but will also further promote people-to-people contacts,” President Zuma told the media after official talks with his Angola’s counterpart President João Manuel Lourenço, who is in the country for a state visit.
“We welcome the agreements that we have just signed. They are all critical to enhancing bilateral cooperation,” said President Zuma.
President Lourenço said the signing of the agreements will “certainly change the way that the countries have cooperated before”.
The two countries also agreed to prioritise economic cooperation through trade and investment in order to grow the respective economies and thus create job opportunities.
This will be done by paying special attention to untapped sectors such as the agro-processing, energy, mining and cultural cooperation.
“We are coming to South Africa with a sense of humbleness because we know in terms of the economy, South Africa is way ahead of Angola. We are seizing this opportunity to also extend an invitation to the South African business sector to go and invest in Angola. For this to happen we know that we need to open certain curtain rails and create the movement of people,” said the Angolan President who spoke through an interpreter.
President Lourenço, who took office 60 days ago, said he decided to visit South Africa because he loves the country.
“I could have visited any other country, an Asian, American or European country but I decided by starting with our continent and I selected this country because we have very strong ties of cooperation.”
Peace, security in the region
The two countries used the opportunity to review issues relating to peace and security in the region.
The both leaders noted that the SADC region is by and large stable and peaceful.
They observed that the SADC processes in Lesotho are progressing well, as well as in the DRC where they announced that the presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for 23rd December 2018.
South Africa and Angola, who are Chair of SADC and Chair of the Organ respectively, committed themselves to support the SADC Facilitator to the DRC, former President Pohamba of Namibia to carry out his mandate and to assist the people of the DRC as they prepare for their elections.
With regards to Zimbabwe, the two Presidents saluted former President Robert Mugabe for his sterling contribution to the liberation struggle of Africa and the SADC region.
They both congratulated President Emmerson Mnangagwa on his inauguration today and wished him well as he steers the country through this transition period.
“We wish to emphasise the need for the maintenance of peace and stability in the country, which I discussed with President Mnangagwa earlier this week before he headed back to Harare,” said President Zuma.
In addition, to these they have committed to working together in the pursuit of peace, stability and economic development, as well as the promotion of regional integration.