SA to consider direct flights to Burundi
President Zuma addressing the SA - Burundi Business Forum held at Taj Mahal Hotel in Cape Town with President Pierre Kurunziza of Burundi and DTI Minister Rob Davies. Photo: GCIS
6 November 2014
Pretoria – South Africa has been requested to reintroduce direct flights between South Africa and Burundi. This as Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza paid a state visit to South Africa this week.
“During the discussions, the Burundian side requested that South Africa consider ways to reintroduce direct flights by SAA between South Africa and Burundi, and to consider cooperation with Air Burundi. South Africa agreed to consider the request,” said a joint Communiqué issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on Wednesday.
The state visit, which took place in Cape Town, was aimed at further strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation that exist between South Africa and Burundi.
Both President Nkurunziza and President Jacob Zuma noted that bilateral trade stood at US$ 52 million in 2013, and has potential to grow further.
South Africa’s major export product to Burundi in 2013 was petroleum oils, (21% of total exports) followed by cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose at 15% of total exports; trucks, motor vehicle for the transport of goods (14%); iron bars and rods (14%) and lastly flour and meals of oil seeds at 4%.
The major products that South Africa imported from Burundi in 2013 were coffee and tea, followed by commodities, inorganic chemicals and electronic goods.
“South Africa is looking into opportunities for growing its bilateral economic engagement with Burundi and particularly in the fields of tourism and conference development, infrastructure development, financial services, energy and mining. Burundi is blessed with rich deposits of coltan and nickel, as well as gold and platinum among other minerals.”
The two Presidents emphasised the importance of developing agriculture and agro-processing to ensure food security and food safety in Burundi.
Additionally, the two Presidents witnessed the signing of two agreements namely: an Agreement Establishing a Joint Commission of Cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding on Arts and Culture Co-operation.
The two Heads of State instructed their respective Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation and of External Relations and International Co-operation to convene the inaugural meeting of the South Africa-Burundi Joint Commission of Cooperation on a mutually acceptable date.
The meeting also requested South Africa to render technical assistance to Burundi’s establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
During their discussions, the two Heads of State discussed the recent internal developments in their respective countries.
President Zuma commended President Nkurunziza on his leadership in the consolidation of peace and democracy in his country through reconciliation and nation building, as well as in social and economic development efforts.
President Zuma further acknowledged the efforts made by the Government of Burundi in its preparations for the holding of free, fair and democratic elections in 2015. – SAnews.gov.za