Joint Communique on the occasion of an Official Visit of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia to South Africa
12 January 2020 – 4:00pm
1. At the invitation of President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali, paid an Official Visit to the Republic of South Africa from 11 to 12 January 2020, which is the first state level exchange of visits between the two countries. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who undertook his first Official Visit to South Africa, was also a Guest at the 108th Anniversary of the founding of the African National Congress, on 11 January 2020.
2. President Ramaphosa was accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development; the Minister of State Security; the Minister of Home Affairs; the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition; the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, and for the signing ceremony, the Minister of Health and the Minister of Tourism. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was accompanied by the Minister of Social and Labour Affairs, the Minister of Mines and Petroleum and the State Minister of Foreign Affairs.
3. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Ramaphosa held Official level talks in Pretoria on January 12, 2020. Discussions were held in the spirit of friendship and the historical links between the two countries. Both leaders acknowledged the importance of the visit to South Africa.
4. The two Leaders recalled the deep rooted historical links and friendship that have been forged over many years during the struggle for freedom and equality against colonialism and apartheid and expressed their satisfaction at the deepening and widening of the bilateral partnership.
5. President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Abiy witnessed the signing of an agreement and two memoranda of understanding. The Agreement on the Waiver of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic or Official/Service Passports is expected to ease the travel of officials, which will contribute to further strengthening the bilateral relations.
6. The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Tourism will be important to both countries in the creation of employment opportunities, especially for the youth. The Memorandum on Cooperation in the field of Health will be important in providing high quality health services for the citizens of their respective countries, especially the young and the elderly.
7. The Principals welcomed the presence of South African companies and business entities in Ethiopia, including investment and trade links, and it was agreed to enhance bilateral investments between the two countries, and at the same time affirmed their commitment to expanding cooperation in trade and investment between business entities in South Africa and Ethiopia, as well as agreeing to cooperate in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) due to their important role in job creation. There was also agreement to strengthen cooperation in the area of mining, deep mining and mineral beneficiation, to strengthen agricultural cooperation so as to enhance food security, and to work towards addressing skills development through the exchange of best practices, among others.
8. The two Leaders took note of the status of bilateral relations to date as well as previously signed Agreements and MoUs which include, among others, the avoidance of double taxation, defence cooperation, industrial and technical cooperation, a bilateral air services agreement, and cooperation in agriculture. The Leaders agreed that the time had arrived to elevate the bilateral cooperation to a strategic partnership. President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali also requested the respective Foreign Ministers to take this process forward and to ensure the implementation of all the bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.
9. Both Leaders agreed that the next Session of the South Africa-Ethiopia Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) would be held in 2020, in Addis Ababa, led by the Foreign Ministers.
10. President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Abiy discussed the issue of Ethiopians residing in South Africa and agreed that the two countries need to cooperate on this matter. The two Leaders further agreed on the need for both countries to work together to address illegal migration, human trafficking and smuggling.
11. At the continental level, the two leaders discussed South Africa’s upcoming Chairship of the African Union under the approved theme: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.” The two Leaders underscored the importance of achieving the objective of Silencing the Guns in order to create the necessary conditions for Africa’s development.
12. Both Leaders reiterated that the socio-economic development of the Continent, and the realisation of a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, remains a central objective of the African Union, as espoused in Agenda 2063.
13. At the global level, the leaders underscored the need for continuing consultations in order to build partnerships in multilateral fora and to ensure that the agenda of the South is prioritised. The two Leaders further emphasised the need for the reform of the UN and its multilateral organisations and undertook to enhance cooperation and coordination in this regard.
14. They also recognised South Africa’s contribution to uphold Africa’s position as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. They reaffirmed their commitment to enhance the voice and representation of emerging and developing economies, including those in Africa, in the decision-making bodies of multilateral institutions, and further called for enhanced regional cooperation.
15. President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali agreed that terrorism constitutes a serious threat to international peace, security and stability and that no country is immune to the threat that terrorism represents. They noted the need for concerted action by the global community against terrorism through early agreement and adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, as well as the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in a balanced and integrated manner. They also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations regardless of its motivations, whenever, wherever and by whosoever committed.
16. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali expressed his gratitude to the Government and People of South Africa for the warm and generous hospitality extended to him and his delegation during the visit, and extended an invitation to President Ramaphosa to pay a reciprocal State Visit to Ethiopia on mutually convenient dates.