Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during a media briefing on the occasion of the State Visit by Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, Union Buildings
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
President Ouattara and I, together with our respective delegations, have just concluded very warm and productive discussions.
It is a matter of great significance that President Ouattara has undertaken this visit to South Africa so soon after my State Visit to Côte d’Ivoire in December last year.
It is an indication of our shared commitment to strengthen bilateral relations.
During my visit to Abidjan in December, we signed nine Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.
Today, we have witnessed the signing of an additional six agreements.
During our discussions, we reviewed the implementation of existing agreements and identified areas for further cooperation.
Together, these agreements signal the broad scope of our cooperation, covering political, economic, cultural, social and military areas.
These agreements cover areas of common interest, such as women’s empowerment and gender equality, youth development, employment, sport, social development and social inclusion.
The agreements will improve cooperation in economic sectors that have been prioritised as part of the Ivorian National Development Plan 2021-2025 and that are important for South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
The economic sectors include mining, oil and gas, agriculture, communication and information technology, defence, transport and forestry.
As part of our shared interest in building a capable, developmental state, our respective schools of government have entered into a cooperation agreement.
Trade between our countries is steadily improving.
South African exports to Côte d'Ivoire have recovered after a decline in 2019, and the value of imports from Côte d'Ivoire have doubled over the last five years.
Several South Africa companies operate in Côte d'Ivoire in industries such as telecommunications, broadcasting, banking and insurance.
There are significant opportunities for investment in several other industries, which we will further explore through the bilateral agreements we have signed.
We will also be exploring these opportunities through engagements such as the South Africa-Côte d'Ivoire Business Forum, which President Ouattara and I will be attending this afternoon.
We expect trade, investment and tourism between our two countries to be further enhanced by the commencement of flights by Air Côte d’Ivoire between Johannesburg and Abidjan.
It is likely to contribute to increased traffic not only between the two countries, but also between South and the West Africa region.
We expect the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area to provide a further boost to our trade relations.
We also discussed issues of security and stability in our respective regions and across the continent.
We welcomed the important role played by Côte d’Ivoire in contributing to peace and stability in West Africa and pledged our support within the framework of the Defence Cooperation Agreement signed in December 2021.
We noted the importance of multilateralism within the global system of governance.
We agreed to continue to defend and promote the primacy of the United Nations in resolving the challenges facing the international community.
We are united in our determination to work together to build a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
In appreciation of the contribution that His Excellency President Ouattara has made, and continues to make, to the furtherance of the friendship between our two countries, it was my great honour earlier today to bestow on President Ouattara the Order of South Africa.
The Order of South Africa (Gold) is awarded to Heads of State and Government who have distinguished themselves to the President of the Republic of South Africa.
Your Excellency, it has been a great honour to welcome you to our country.
I look forward to deepening our cooperation in the interests of our peoples and in the interests of our continent, Africa.
I thank you.