President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the State Visit by his Ugandan counterpart, President Yoweri Museveni, as a building block to strong political and economic relations between the two countries.
“This State Visit has reinforced the firm political and economic relations between our two countries. By deepening these relations, we aim to better the lives of our people and continue the struggle to overcome poverty, unemployment and inequality,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa acknowledged the challenges relating to trade and investment. However, he said steady progress has been made to resolving some of those challenges.
President Ramaphosa hosted President Museveni on a State Visit to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday.
President Museveni’s visit is directed at consolidating bilateral relations between the two countries. The two Heads of State held discussions encompassing political, economic, regional, continental and international issues.
The Heads of State also witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation between the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC), Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) and Uganda Development Bank Limited (UDBL).
Other MoUs that were signed are on Cooperation in Tourism; MoU on Cooperation in Transport Related Matters; MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Information and Communication Technologies; MoU on Cooperation in the field of Correctional Services and Prisons, and the MoU on Cooperation in the fields of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities.
“We have noted significant progress in the implementation of agreements that the two countries have had in the past. As testament to our growing relations, we have just witnessed the signing of Memoranda of Understanding in diverse areas of cooperation,” the President said.
On business relations between the two countries, President Ramaphosa conveyed to President Museveni that South Africa remains keen on investing in Uganda, particularly in banking, retail and telecommunications.
“We hope that Ugandan business invests in South Africa for the mutual benefit of the people of both countries.
“As we speak now, the business leaders from both South Africa and Uganda are involved in a business forum, which both of us will visit later and address as well,” the President said.
The two Presidents further expressed their strong views that they should always find ways to resolve the issues that impede economic growth and development between the two countries.
“We have agreed that our two trade ministers will need to be engaged to put in place a mechanism that will ensure matters such as the protection of investments in our respective countries.
“Our discussions have been expansive; they've covered quite a number of areas, particularly the Africa continental Free Trade Area agreement that needs to be implemented,” President Ramaphosa said.
On peacemaking on the continent, President Ramaphosa said that they spoke extensively to ensure that they do indeed get as many countries that are currently afflicted to strive to return to peaceful coexistence.
“The eastern DRC was covered, as was Ethiopia and the efforts that we all have made to bring about the cessation of hostilities.
“We have also looked at the peace process in other parts of our continent and continue to pledge our solidarity with other parts of our continent like Western Sahara, that are still struggling to get to a peaceful situation,” the President said.
The President once again bemoaned the lack of a permanent representation of Africa in the UN Security Council, and continued to urge for the reform of that body.
President Ramaphosa expressed his appreciation to the people of Uganda for their contribution to South Africa's freedom during the struggle against colonialism and apartheid.
“Through your visit here, we see ourselves deepening relations between us and we aim to better the lives of our people. We want to express our great delight to have you here in our country, together with your delegation,” President Ramaphosa said.
Source: South African Government News Agency