South Africa: Nation Eyes Opportunities With Cuba
- Submitted by: manso
- 08 / 30 / 2011
28 August 2011. Pretoria — South Africa and Cuba hope to push their bilateral and multilateral cooperation to the next level when they hold their 9th Joint Consultative Mechanism (JCM) this week.
International Relations Deputy Minister, Ebrahim Ebrahim, will co-chair the meeting, scheduled for 29 and 30 in Cuba, which will focus on domestic political and socio-economic issues in both countries while also touching on regional issues.
The JCM is an annual forum to review political, bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest and will make provisions for the two countries to address issues of national, regional and international concern, said department spokesperson Clayson Monyela.
The forum, he said, was established in 2001 to strengthen the existing political bilateral relations and to further increase cooperation, particularly in the multilateral and regional spheres
Since 1994, South Africa's foreign policy has been largely successful in articulating a progressive agenda that promotes the values enshrined in the South African Constitution.
"The country has carved a space for itself as a voice of the developing world. To achieve its aims, South Africa has forged partnerships with various like-minded countries in the world, whilst grounding its foreign policy on a closer cooperation with countries of Southern Africa and the broader African continent," said Monyela.
Monyela added that both countries have utilised the JCM in a programmatic and systematic way to enhance the attainment of their respective foreign policy objectives.
Cuba is one of South Africa's most important strategic partners in Latin America and the Caribbean and maintains excellent bilateral exchanges in a variety of fields of political and socio-economic activity.
In the past, more than 400 architects, engineers, electricians and other technical experts were deployed throughout South Africa by various line function departments such as human settlements, public works and social development.
The two countries also have a long standing history of cooperation in projects that have provided much-needed healthcare in the continent.
Through the Health Cooperation Agreement, more than 500 South Africans have undergone training in Cuba through the medical scholarship programme.
Although bilateral trade remains low, there has been a steady increase in trade over the past few years and the two countries are working at a strategy to address the trade gaps