South Africa and Indonesia strengthen Bilateral Relations

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Minister Marsudi is International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Monday, 06 February 2017, received Ms Retno Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, for bilateral talks in Cape Town.

on a working visit to South Africa in her capacity as Indonesia’s Presidential Special Envoy on the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and is accompanied by a business delegation with the aim of strengthening economic cooperation with their South African counterparts.

The two Ministers discussed the need to reinvigorate bilateral cooperation between the two countries and agreed that South Africa will host the 2nd  SA-Indonesia Joint Commission Meeting this year on a mutually agreed date. A State Visit by President Zuma to Indonesia and by President Widodo to South Africa was also proposed for 2017.

South Africa and Indonesia enjoy cordial relations. The current bilateral  mechanisms that allow both countries to optimise the existing cooperation are the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation and the Joint Trade Committee, signed in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Indonesia presents a significant potential market for South African products. In 2015 the total volume of bilateral trade between South Africa and Indonesia was R11.7 billion with R2.8 billion exports from South Africa and R8.9 billion imports from Indonesia. South Africa’s major exports to Indonesia include chemical wood pulp, ferrous waste, iron ore, aluminium, fruit, and mechanical appliances.

Whilst in Cape Town, Minister Marsudi will also pay a courtesy call on President Zuma to personally convey an invitation from President Widodo to President Zuma to participate in the upcoming 1st  IORA  Leaders’ Summit in Jakarta.

The two Ministers discussed the upcoming IORA Leaders’ Summit scheduled for 07 March 2017 in Jakarta. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo will be hosting the IORA Leaders’ Summit to commemorate the 20th anniversary of IORA’s  existence and to hand over the chairship of IORA to South Africa.

South Africa and Indonesia are both founding members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, which comprises 21 coastal states of the Indian Ocean. Indonesia served as Vice Chair of IORA  from 2013 to 2015 and is the current Chair.

South Africa served as Vice Chair from 2015 to early 2017. South Africa will serve as Chair from 2017 to 2019.

In this regard, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane indicated that South Africa will host the next IORA Council of Ministers Meeting in Durban later this year.

On the multilateral front, South Africa and Indonesia are active members of the G20, the Non-Aligned Movement ( NAM ), and the G77 plus China, and work together closely in promoting the ideals of South-South Cooperation.

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