PRETORIA-- Talks between the leaders of South Africa and Angola here Friday have seen the two countries reaching consensus to deepen bilateral relations by paying particular attention to economic and social co-operation.

The two countries are of the view that enhanced trade co-operation can be achieved by encouraging their respective private sectors to invest in each other's economies and they have signed several agreements which will boost trade and promote people-to-people contacts.

On Friday, the two countries signed agreements which will see the elevation of the structured bilateral mechanism to the level of Bi-National Commission (BNC), to be presided over by the Heads of State. They also signed a visa waiver agreement for ordinary passport holders, an agreement on police co-operation and an agreement on Customs matters.

The BNC will bring the required momentum to consolidate and deepen bilateral relations in various areas of co-operation, the two countries said. The visa waiver for ordinary passport holders will facilitate easy movement of people between the two countries. It will enable citizens from both countries entry for a period of 90 days per annum, provided that each visit does not exceed 30 days in total.

This development will have a positive effect on business and leisure tourism but will also open the door for future trade and foreign direct investment. It will not only add significant impetus to tourism, but will also further promote people-to-people contacts, President Zuma told the media after official talks with his Angolan counterpart, President JoAPound o Manuel Lourenco, who is on a State visit.

We welcome the agreements that we have just signed. They are all critical to enhancing bilateral cooperation, said President Zuma.

President Lourenco said the signing of the agreements will certainly change the way that the countries have co-operated before.

The two countries also agreed to prioritise economic co-operation through trade and investment in order to grow the respective economies and thus create job opportunities. This will be done by paying special attention to untapped sectors such as the agro-processing, energy, mining and cultural co-operation.

We are coming to South Africa with a sense of humbleness because we know in terms of the economy, South Africa is way ahead of Angola. We are seizing this opportunity to also extend an invitation to the South African business sector to go and invest in Angola. For this to happen we know that we need to open certain curtain rails and create the movement of people, said the Angolan Head of State.

The two leaders used the opportunity to review issues relating to peace and security in the region, noting that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub-region of which both are members was by and large stable and peaceful. They observed that the SADC processes in Lesotho were progressing well as well as in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they announced that the presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for Dec 23, 2018.

The South African and Angolan presidents, who are the current Chair of SADC and Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation respectively, committed themselves to support the SADC Facilitator to the DRC, former President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia to carry out his mandate and to assist the people of the DRC as they prepare for their elections.

With regards to Zimbabwe, the two Presidents saluted former President Robert Mugabe for his sterling contribution to the liberation struggle of Africa and the SADC region. They both congratulated President Emmerson Mnangagwa on his inauguration Friday and wished him well as he steers the country through this transition period.

We wish to emphasise the need for the maintenance of peace and stability in the country, which I discussed with President Mnangagwa earlier this week before he headed back to Harare, said President Zuma.


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