President Jacob Zuma to undertake a State visit to the Republic of Burundi
5 Aug 2011
President Jacob Zuma will undertake a state visit to the Republic of Burundi from 11 to 12 August 2011 at the invitation of President Pierre Nkurunziza.
President Jacob Zuma's visit to Burundi comes within the context of consolidating the African Agenda and strengthening the existing relations between the two countries. During the visit, the Presidents will review progress on key areas of bilateral cooperation which amongst include agriculture, forestry and fisheries, trade and investment, higher education and defence.
Views will also be exchanged on issues currently affecting the African continent, specifically political developments pertaining to the East Africa Region as well as global multilateral matters. South Africa was requested and mandated by the countries of the East African Regional Community to be the Facilitating Country in the peace process in Burundi.
This commitment kept South Africa deeply engaged in Burundi from the mid-nineties to the conclusion of the Peace Process in December 2009.
As a result of South Africa's engagement in Burundi, a General Cooperation Agreement was signed with Burundi on 14 February 2007 and shortly thereafter, on 16 September 2008, the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Health Matters came into force. To further strengthen the relations between the two countries, South Africa has subsequently assisted the Government of Burundi with various development projects, namely:
Shortly before the 2010 elections in Burundi, South Africa hosted the permanent Commission Electorale Nationale Independante (CENI) to attend workshops on election conduct and election management.
In collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), South Africa invited the CENI to attend further workshops within the context of the 2011 local municipal elections and observe the election processes in South Africa.
The Ministry of Public Service and Administration (MPSA) has had a fruitful engagement with the Ministry of Civil Service, Labour and Social Security in Burundi. Initial consultations with the Burundian counterparts discussed the government's areas of priority with regards to public sector reform. This led to an agreed Republic of South Africa (RSA) and Burundi work plan. The work-plan focused on the provision of technical support from the MPSA on organisational development and training.
Following this initial engagement, the MPSA has, through Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA) secured funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), to the tune of CAN $ 10.5 million commencing from 2008. The objective of this initiative is to improve management and leadership capacity of the public service through training and the development of Management Development Institutes (MDI) capability.
The Presidents will witness the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding on Bilateral Cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Livestock and on Economic and Technical Cooperation respectively as well as two Agreements on Education Cooperation and Defence Cooperation.
Trade statistics between the two countries declined in 2009 but are currently on the rise again. South African exports to Burundi amount to R65 263 000 and imports to South Africa amount to R149 100 000. South Africa regards Burundi as a country with great economic potential in the East African Community (EAC) region as well as an important partner for trade and investment. Against the backdrop of strengthened political relations, it is expected that trade cooperation between the two countries would grow to greater heights.
It is also anticipated that a business delegation would participate in a Business Forum to explore investment and trade opportunities between the two countries.
President Jacob Zuma's delegation will include Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana Mashabane, Minister of Higher Education, Dr Bonginkosi Emmanuel "Blade" Nzimande, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Ms Thandi Tobias-Pokolo and Senior Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
For further information please contact:
Cell: 082 884 5974
Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation
5 Aug 2011
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