On Top of President Sirleaf's State Visit - Liberia-South Africa Issue Joint Communique; Agriculture, Health, Telecommunication Prioritized

Friday, 11th August 2017
Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and South Africa's Jacob Zuma.
Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and South Africa's Jacob Zuma.
Pretoria, South Africa: In furtherance of President Sirleaf’s State visit to the Republic of South Africa, Liberia and South Africa have issued a Joint Communiqué on Cooperation in various areas. 
According to a dispatch from Pretoria, on 11th of August 2017, President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, Mr. Jacob Zuma, hosted the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the State visit to South Africa.
During their bilateral discussion, the two Presidents reviewed a wide-range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common interest. They acknowledged the historical and strategic relations that happily exist between the two countries. 
Both Presidents Sirleaf and Zuma noted the devastating impact of the Ebola epidemic, and in this regard President Zuma congratulated Liberia and her neighbours for successfully managing the epidemic. The two Presidents further recalled the role played by South Africa and the Continental body under the stewardship of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma - under whose guidance the “Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust” was established and pledged US$34million of which MTN, a South African-based company contributed US$10million.
In line with the spirit of the Communiqué, the two Presidents noted with satisfaction the already signed Bilateral Mechanism of Cooperation between Liberia and South Africa that include a General Framework Agreement for Bilateral Cooperation, and a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic and Technical Cooperation. These instruments, according to the Communiqué, are aimed at strengthening economic relations as well as enhancing trade and investment between the two countries. 
Both President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and His Excellency, Jacob Zuma have committed to prioritise areas of bilateral cooperation, which covers among others trade and investment, agriculture, health, construction, energy, telecommunications, finance and mining.  
The two Presidents further committed themselves to expediting the finalisation and signing of the Agreement between the two countries on the Exemption of Visa for the holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports, and also the Joint Trade and Investment Commission, which will enable both countries to service the MoU on Economic and Technical Cooperation already signed.
Meanwhile, the two leaders noted with great satisfaction the economic cooperation between the two Republics and the huge potential to increase trade volumes as well as private sector investments. In this regard, they took note of the major South African businesses that have large investments in Liberia such as MTN and DSTV. 
In line with the AU vision of promoting Intra-African trade and enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries, both Presidents agreed that in the next few months the Liberia-South Africa Joint Trade and Investment Commission (JTIC) will be established.
President Zuma also used the opportunity of their meeting to congratulate and pay tribute to Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for having successfully completed her tenure as the first democratically elected and currently the only female President in the Continent. In this regard, he also briefed her on South Africa’s commitment to provide technical support and assistance in the upcoming Presidential and Legislative elections in Liberia, and wished Liberians well as they prepare for the elections.
President Zuma commended President Johnson Sirleaf for her role as Chairperson of ECOWAS Authority and Heads of State in the resolution of the electoral impasse in The Gambia.
Regarding the Continent, both Presidents exchanged views on the political and security situation in their respective regions and the Continent. They have noted with deep concern the deteriorating humanitarian situation in some countries on the Continent as announced by the United Nations. They also emphasized the need to silence the guns and work towards the lasting peace and stability in the Continent which will enable the much needed development, and that the pursuit of Agenda 2063 remains a priority for the Continent. 
They condemned in the strongest possible terms all acts of terrorism and all forms extremism.
On international issues, the two Presidents agreed to continue working together in the global fora in order to increase Africa’s voice in its quest for the reform of the multilateral institutions, including the United Nations Security Council, so that they are representative and take into account the interests of the developing world.
For her part, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed her profound gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to her and her delegation and also thanked South Africa for the support, which Liberians continue to receive in the area of health. She has also expressed gratitude with regard to the commitment of South Africa to provide technical support and assistance in order to ensure that Liberia conducts smooth and credible Presidential and Legislative elections scheduled for October 2017.
In conclusion, the two Presidents reaffirmed the strategic relations that exist between the two countries and committed themselves to working together to enhance close political, economic and social cooperation in keeping with a mutual desire to improve the material condition of both their people in keeping with the continental Agenda 2063.