South Africa and Colombia recently celebrated a significant milestone in their long-standing relationship during an official visit by Colombian Vice President Francia Elena Márquez. Deputy President Paul Mashatile of South Africa hosted a media briefing after the meeting, which took place at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria. The two countries are aiming to strengthen their political and economic ties while acknowledging their shared colonial legacies and the vast diversity of people, culture, and ecology in both nations.
Optimism for the Growth of Bilateral Relations
During the briefing, Mashatile expressed his optimism for the growth of bilateral relations between South Africa and Colombia under the new administration of President Gustav Francisco Petro, who assumed office in August 2022. The Deputy President emphasized his confidence in the two countries’ ability to address common structural challenges such as land ownership and their commitment to mutual development in the political, economic, and social spheres.
Focus on Economic Cooperation
South Africa and Colombia have engaged in trade and investment across various industries, including mining, agriculture, and manufacturing. They have signed several bilateral agreements that focus on enhancing economic cooperation, in line with South Africa’s foreign policy objective of South-South Cooperation. Notable agreements include a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations, Natural Parks, Science and Technology, and Diplomatic Academies.
Addressing Challenges in Boosting Economic Growth
Mashatile acknowledged the ongoing challenges faced by both nations in boosting economic growth and generating new employment opportunities. To address these challenges, South Africa and Colombia are aiming to strengthen their relations through structured bilateral agreements and high-level engagements, advancing national priorities, the African Agenda, and South-South cooperation.
Facilitating Mutually Beneficial Trade and Investment
Vice President Márquez is set to join the Business Forum, which brings together business people from both countries and further facilitates mutually beneficial trade, investment, and technical cooperation across sectors such as agribusiness, defense, mining, science and technology, sport, arts and culture, tourism, and transport.
Promoting Peace, Sustainable Development, and Multilateralism
Mashatile welcomed the steady growth of investments from Colombia, particularly in the agribusiness sector. He also expressed South Africa’s commitment to promoting peace, sustainable development, and multilateralism as a foundation for strengthening diplomatic ties.
Working Together on Common Goals and Priorities
With the increasing collaboration between South Africa and Colombia, both nations are striving to improve the lives of their citizens while addressing pressing global issues such as inequality, unemployment, and poverty. By working together on common goals and priorities, South Africa and Colombia demonstrate a commitment to fostering a strong and mutually beneficial partnership. As their relationship continues to grow and evolve, the potential for further collaboration and shared successes is evident in the ongoing exchange of ideas, knowledge, and resources between these two diverse and dynamic countries.