SA, France commit to strengthening relations
President Cyril Ramaphosa and his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, have committed to strengthening relations between the two nations following bilateral talks at the Union Buildings on Friday.
President Ramaphosa, who hosted President Macron for a State Visit in Tshwane, said discussions spanned over a number of issues, including the COVID-19 response, climate change, global peace and security, and their relationship.
“It is on COVID-19 that we’re feeling France’s keen support and solidary, in that they’re prepared to take the lead in advocating Africa’s case. President Macron would like to see the whole continent succeed,” he said.
It is for this reason, he said, that South Africa was willing to cooperate with France on a number of forums on multilateral levels around the world.
South Africa and France have a shared interest in ensuring that multilateral efforts are effective in ending the pandemic, resuming international travel and commerce, accelerating economic recovery and strengthening public health systems.
“This pandemic has shown that disasters of this scale respect no borders and that no one is safe until all of us are safe.
“It is for this reason that we must accelerate our collective efforts to ensure that vaccines become a global public good and are made accessible to all countries in the shortest possible time,” said President Ramaphosa.
As part of these efforts, Africa is working to develop its own vaccine production capabilities and capacity to ensure security of supply.
“While funding is key, it needs to be complemented by the transfer of technology and a commitment by international procurement agencies to buy vaccines made in Africa,” said the President.
The two leaders share a commitment to make the knowledge related to COVID-19 health technologies and products a global public good. They agreed to work towards expanding research, innovation and production beyond COVID-19 to promote public health security in Africa.
Trade, climate change
During the meeting, the Presidents reaffirmed the importance of bilateral trade and investment relationships. They will therefore continue working together to remove obstacles to bilateral and regional trade and investment.
Both countries, said President Ramaphosa, further agreed to work together towards the implementation of the EU-SADC Partnership Agreement and the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“We look forward to France’s continued involvement in the Square Kilometre Array intergovernmental radio telescope project, and its related fields of research and development.
“We recognise that the climate change threat, the loss of biological diversity and other global environmental challenges must be addressed with urgency and ambition,” President Ramaphosa said.
The Presidents said their nations were fully committed to the progressive development of a multilateral response to global environmental challenges, guided by science and the principles of fairness and equality.
They also agreed to continue working together towards a prosperous, secure and peaceful future for the African continent.
“We reaffirmed the bonds of friendship and solidarity that exist between our two countries, and we look forward to continued collaboration for the benefit of our peoples, our countries, our respective regions and the world,” said President Ramaphosa.
President Macron, who thanked President Ramaphosa for hosting him, said he was convinced that France’s commitment to assist Africa succeed, especially its youth, was a huge opportunity for the continent, while strengthening relations between the continent and Europe.
South Africa and France reaffirmed the bonds of friendship and solidarity that exist between the two countries and look forward to continued engagement that would benefit their peoples, countries and respective regions and the world.
Macron arrived in South Africa after visiting Rwanda on Thursday, where he engaged President Paul Kagame. – SAnews.gov.za