Sunday, June 16, 2024

Mexico and South Africa to ‘relaunch’ joint agenda

Thirty years after establishing diplomatic relations, Mexico and South Africa have pledged to “relaunch their cooperation agenda” across a range of areas.

The commitment came after Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Carmen Moreno met with South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Alvin Botes in Mexico City on Tuesday.

Carmen Moreno with Alvin Botes
Mexico’s Deputy Minister Carmen Moreno (center) with South Africa’s Deputy Minister Alvin Botes (right). (DIRCO South Africa/X)

They consulted on matters of mutual interest and took stock of the bilateral relationship and its prospects, according to a joint press release.

The press release said that the governments of Mexico and South Africa “reaffirmed the importance of the bilateral relationship,” which began in October 1993, when the apartheid system in the latter country was in the process of being dismantled.

It also said that the respective governments “pledged to relaunch their cooperation agenda in this post-pandemic era in order to reach the political, economic and collaborative potential that a relationship between two countries such as Mexico and South Africa, both so important to the Global South, should have.”

In a separate, more detailed statement, the two countries said they are “determined to increase collaboration” and expressed their commitment to holding ministerial level meetings to “establish guidelines of our bilateral relationship in the following areas: political, economic, commercial, energy, scientific, technical, educational, cultural, sports and the administration of justice.”

Botes visits the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City
Deputy Minister Botes (third from leftt) visited the National Museum of Anthropology while in Mexico City. (Jacoline Schoonees DIRCO South Africa/X)

The statement outlined eight other commitments including one to “promote the development of closer ties between our business communities to help strengthen trade and investment.”

Mexican government data shows that two-way trade between Mexico and South Africa was worth US $1.04 billion in 2022. Over three-quarters of that amount – $799 million – came from South African imports, while Mexican exports were worth $245 million.

The main import from South Africa was unwrought aluminum, while Mexico’s main export to that country was vehicle parts and accessories. South Africa was Mexico’s top trading partner in Africa last year and ranked 48th worldwide, according to the joint press release.

The Ministry of Agriculture said in January that Mexico was aiming to increase the presence of Mexican products in African countries, including South Africa, “in the medium term.”

Among the other commitments Mexico and South Africa made this week were to:

  • Share best practices in consular services.
  • Promote and encourage effective reflection on the challenges and opportunities facing the Global South.
  • Continue promoting open channels of communication between our authorities to share best practices in border management.
  • Hold informal bilateral consultations in multilateral forums to discuss cooperation initiatives to address global challenges such as sustainable development and inclusive economic growth.

“Convinced of the potential to exchange best practices, we identified areas in which both countries and our regions face similar challenges, such as educating our youths and facilitating opportunities for them to enter the workforce in the formal economy and with well-paid wages; gender equality; the process of desertification and access to water in the context of climate change,” the joint statement said.

Moreno said on the X social media site that the priorities of Mexico and South Africa are “in sync” and described the nation led by President Cyril Ramaphosa as a “great ally.”

Mexico News Daily 

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