President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday concluded working visits to Mozambique and Zimbabwe on the second leg of what he has described as his “pilgrimage” to Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states following his election as president in February 2018, the presidency said.
Ramaphosa was accompanied by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba as he paid courtesy calls on presidents Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique and Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko said.
The visits formed part of a longstanding SADC tradition in terms of which newly elected heads of state paid courtesy calls on neighbouring countries, she said.
In Maputo, Ramaphosa and Nyusi underscored the strength of bilateral relations between South Africa and Mozambique.
The leaders emphasised the need for the two countries to deepen economic co-operation during the third session, in South Africa later this year, of the Binational Commission that oversees relations between the two states.
The presidents identified agriculture, energy, investment in rail and road infrastructure, tourism, and the movement of people between the two countries as areas for engagement during the forthcoming Binational Commission, Diko said.
Ramaphosa’s visit to Harare followed Mnangagwa’s visit - his first abroad - to South Africa in December 2017, soon after his inauguration as president of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is due to hold elections towards the middle of 2018.
During Saturday’s deliberations the two heads of state reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries. They acknowledged the historical and fraternal relations that exist between the two countries.
They further noted the depth and extent of bilateral co-operation as evidenced by the existence of more than 40 bilateral agreements covering a broad range of sectors, including mining, agriculture, retail, transport, communications, energy, tourism, labour, immigration, and security, she said.
Ramaphosa commended Mnangagwa on his efforts to revitalise the Zimbabwean economy. In this regard, Ramaphosa committed to support Zimbabwe in this endeavour by encouraging South African state-owned companies and the private sector to invest in the Zimbabwean economy, noting that Zimbabwe was one of South Africa’s top five trade partners. More than 120 South African companies were doing business across a broad range of sectors in Zimbabwe.
Ramaphosa and Mnangagwa reaffirmed the strategic importance of the Beitbridge border post. In this regard they committed themselves to the establishment of a one-stop border post to facilitate the easy movement of people, goods, and services, acknowledging that Beitbridge was the busiest border crossing in sub-Saharan Africa.
The presidents further reaffirmed the need to prioritise economic co-operation for the mutual benefit of the respective countries and people. They identified the following sectors as key in strengthening economic co-operation - agro-processing, mining, tourism, energy, and infrastructure development, Diko said.
African News Agency/ANA