Pretoria – South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has said his government has put measures in place to prevent future xenophobic attacks.
He was speaking in Pretoria last week after he held talks with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
He described the xenophobic attacks of 2019 as a difficult situation adding that immediate action was taken, launching an inquiry into the root causes of the attacks, while officials were also working to prevent future attacks.
He gave assurances that South Africa was open to all people and emphasised the importance of mutual respect.
During talks with Prime Minister Ahmed, the two leaders recalled the deep rooted historical links and friendship that had been forged over many years during the struggle for freedom and equality against colonialism and apartheid and expressed their satisfaction at the deepening and widening of the bilateral partnership.
President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Abiy then witnessed the signing of an agreement and two memoranda of understanding. The Agreement on the Waiver of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic or Official/Service Passports is expected to ease the travel of officials, which will contribute to further strengthening the bilateral relations.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Tourism was also signed. It will be important to both countries in the creation of employment opportunities, especially for the youth.
The two leaders welcomed the presence of South African companies and business entities in Ethiopia, including investment and trade links, and it was agreed to enhance bilateral investments between the two countries, and at the same time affirmed their commitment to expanding cooperation in trade and investment between business entities in South Africa and Ethiopia, as well as agreeing to cooperate in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) due to their important role in job creation.
There was also agreement to strengthen cooperation in the area of mining, deep mining and mineral beneficiation, to strengthen agricultural cooperation so as to enhance food security, and to work towards addressing skills development through the exchange of best practices, among others.
They took note of the status of bilateral relations to date as well as previously signed Agreements and MoUs which include, among others, the avoidance of double taxation, defence cooperation, industrial and technical cooperation, a bilateral air services agreement, and cooperation in agriculture
The Leaders agreed that the time had arrived to elevate the bilateral cooperation to a strategic partnership.
President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Abiy also requested their respective Foreign Ministers to take this process forward and to ensure the implementation of all the bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.