Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa said South African and Malawi were committed to strengthening cooperation on trade and investment, agriculture, defence, culture, tourism, gender, and health between the two countries.
“Economic cooperation between our two countries continues to show steady growth, as demonstrated by the large number of South African companies operating in Malawi,” Ramaphosa said on Friday after meeting with Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera.
Malawi remains one of the most important trading partners for South Africa.
Chakwera was in South Africa for a working visit.
Ramaphosa said that they welcomed the signing of the Economic Cooperation Agreement, and agreed to work together to identify specific areas in which South African and Malawian companies can do business.
“We also endeavoured to put more emphasis on people-to-people cooperation between our two countries given that we are one people,” he said.
“Cooperation needs to be advanced in areas such as culture, sport and recreation in an effort to bring the people of our two countries together.”
In a statement released after a media briefing on the meeting, Ramaphosa said the visit was a depiction of the importance of the relations between our two countries.
“South Africa attaches great importance to maintaining warm and cordial relations with Malawi. Built on historic foundations, our bilateral cooperation has grown, deepened and matured,” Ramaphosa said.
“We have concluded successful deliberations with His Excellency President Chakwera, in which we reviewed our bilateral cooperation and expressed satisfaction with the ever-expanding ties between our countries.”
Ramaphosa said that there were 15 existing agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries which covered a wide range of areas.
He said they also noted the expiry of the instrument of cooperation – the Joint Commission for Cooperation – a mechanism for bilateral engagements between the two countries. They expressed their wishes to elevate the mechanism to ministerial level.
“We have emphasised the need to implement all these agreements and finalise all outstanding ones. We emphasised the need for these Agreements to transform lives and positively contribute to combating the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality,” he said.
The two African heads of state also reviewed the state of peace and security on the continent, with a specific focus on Southern Africa, and noted the “need for collaborative efforts in addressing threats to peace and security such as terrorism, extremism and insurgencies”.
“We noted that our region is relatively peaceful and stable while there remain areas of concern. We committed ourselves to working together to assist sister countries in the region facing political and security challenges,” Ramaphosa said.
Touching on Covid-19, he said that they undertook to continue with regional efforts towards devising a regional economic recovery strategy.
These efforts will be linked to the promotion of intra-Africa trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area, Ramaphosa said.
“Following our fruitful discussions of today [on Friday], it is clear to me that we have further laid a solid foundation to propel our relations to a much higher level. I strongly believe all the necessary elements are in place to achieve this,” he said.
“It remains up to us to ensure the partnership between our countries brings real and lasting benefits to our respective peoples and all the people of Southern Africa.”
- African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Devereaux Morkel