Internal Affairs

President Ramaphosa concludes successful visit to Senegal

President Cyril Ramaphosa concluded his visit to Senegal on a high note as the two countries consolidated their bilateral relations as well as the signing of a number of Memoranda of Understanding and Agreements.

The delegations of both countries signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) as well as Agreements which include an MoU on Political and Diplomatic Consultations, an Agreement on a Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, and an Agreement on Scientific, Technical and Economic Cooperation in the Field of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“It is our joint expectation that the outcomes of this visit translates to enhanced cooperation between our two countries,” said the President who concluded the visit on Tuesday.

The visit to Senegal marked the President’s last leg of his four-nation West Africa tour that encompassed the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republics of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal.

Addressing the media following a tête-à-tête with his counterpart President Macky Sall, the President extended his gratitude to the government and people of Senegal for their enduring friendship and solidarity.

“Our delegation was warmly received in Dakar at a time when a number of countries have imposed travel bans on South Africa in response to our detection of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus,” he said.

President Ramaphosa has strongly rejected the move, which the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has rightly described as travel apartheid.

“Countries should not advance their interests at the expense of others. This is a global pandemic and it warrants cooperation, not the isolation and punishment of certain countries. So once again, your Excellency, thank you,” President Ramaphosa said.

South Africa and Senegal enjoy cordial bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties.

The visit has been an opportunity to explore deepening relations across the two countries’ respective national priorities.

On Monday, President Ramaphosa participated in the seventh International Dakar Forum for Peace and Security in Africa, where he shared South Africa’s perspective on challenges to Africa’s emergence in a post COVID-19 world.

The President also visited Gorée Island which has a great meaning for not only Senegal but for the entire continent and its diaspora.

Upon arrival, he received a warm reception form the locals with loud cheers, singing and dancing.

He visited the House of Slaves museum, which is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site on Gorée Island off the coast of Senegal, in the vicinity of the capital, Dakar.

The House of Slaves, which was the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast from the 15th to 19th centuries, is a centre of memory that focuses on human exploitation and fosters reconciliation.

The President also unveiled a plaque honouring South Africa’s founding President, Nelson Mandela and unveiled the Liberty and Dignity Square which symbolises the freedom of slaves.

The President said that visiting the island has been a trip down a very sad memory lane, which has evoked pain and sadness while also adding that the island remains a centre of hope, reconciliation and forgiveness.

He also expressed joy to see the opening of Mandela Square and plaque.

“We look forward to the finalisation of the process that will see Gorée Island twinned with Robben Island in South Africa, where many of the leaders of our liberation struggle were imprisoned, including President Nelson Mandela. The twinning is going to bring South Africa and Senegal closer together,” he said.

The President was flanked by a delegation which included Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Minister Naledi Pandor, Minister Thoko Didiza, Minister Mondli Gungubele and Minister Barbra Creecy, among others.

Source: South African Government News Agency