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Closing remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Plenary Session of the 5th South Africa-Botswana Bi-National Commission

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Your Excellency, My Dear Brother, President Masisi,
High Commissioners,
Colleagues and Friends,

We have come to the end of our bilateral discussions, which have been frank and cordial in equal measure.

We remain forever grateful for the strong ties that exist between our countries and peoples.

I recall the words of former President Nelson Mandela at the official reception hosted by President Sir Ketumile Masire in Botswana in 1995 when he said:

“For many of our people, each other's country is a second home. For all these reasons we share beliefs and aspirations, and most importantly a commitment to freedom, justice and respect for human dignity”.

Indeed, Your Excellency, South Africa is your second home, and we trust you and your delegation have enjoyed your stay thus far.

The work we have just completed is the continuation of our endeavours towards the realisation of the shared aspirations of which President Mandela spoke.

This Summit has been an opportunity for us to take stock of our bilateral cooperation in a number of fields.

The comprehensive report that was presented by our respective Ministers captures the state of our bilateral cooperation in detail, and we thank them for that.

The progress recorded since our last BNC is to be commended.

We emerge from this BNC with renewed energy and vigour for the task of rebuilding of our economies.

In pursuit of this, we will need to enhance and consolidate the implementation of existing agreements.

Furthermore, we must leverage the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area.

We are encouraged by the adoption in January 2022 of the AfCFTA Rules of Origin covering 87 percent of goods on the tariff lines of African Union member states.

This is a historic breakthrough that demonstrates our commitment to dramatically scaling up intra-African trade.

We also reflected on several issues in the international arena.

The complexities of the international system necessitates that there is urgent transformation of institutions of global governance.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine bears testimony to the urgency of this need.

Your Excellency, President Masisi, I wish to conclude by again expressing my sincere appreciation to you and your delegation, and to all involved in the planning and preparation of today’s Summit.

I am confident that by the time we meet in Botswana in 2023 our respective Ministers and senior officials will have made substantial progress in finalising the pending agreements brought to our attention.

I thank you.