On Tuesday morning, international relations and cooperation minister Naledi Pandor hosted Bangladesh’s foreign minister Abul Kalam Abdul Momen.
Both the ministers agreed to forge closer cooperation in business development, information exchange, skill development and women’s economic empowerment.
The meeting noted Bangladesh’s golden jubilee anniversary of independence and the centenary birth anniversary of its father of the Nation- Bangabandhu Sheik Mujibur Rahman.
Both the ministers reflected on Bangladesh’s achievements since independence and paid tribute to the life of Bangabandhu Sheik Mujibur Rahman for his dynamic leadership and sacrifice.
Bangladesh never had a bilateral relation with South Africa before the end of apartheid. It was only after the election of Nelson Mandela that bilateral ties got established between the two countries on 10 September 1994.
Bangladesh’s foreign minister even attended the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the new president of South Africa.
Bangladesh established a high commission in Pretoria, South Africa, on 27 February 1995, and SA high commission in Sri Lanka is accredited to Bangladesh. As of 2015, South Africa and Kenya were the only African countries that had Bangladesh diplomatic missions.
These bilateral ties between the countries have continued annually within a framework of senior official meetings; the last meeting was in Dhaka in September 2019.
A Vision for the Future
Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said, “South Africa shares an important relationship with Bangladesh- built on the historical bond of solidarity, friendship and cooperation”.
Given the new challenges of the covid-19 pandemic, he asserted the importance of such official visits, which allows the two ministers to calibrate the existing relations and adapt to the new challenges brought by the changing international environment.
While both the countries have shared strong trade and economic relations, which has significantly grown with time, both countries have acknowledged that there is still considerable potential to expand these relations further.
The misters agreed to forge closer cooperation in small business development, technical exchange in information and communication technology, skills development and women empowerment, in addition to already identified priority areas of- education, agriculture, trade and investments.
As Bangladesh is all set to assume the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the parties also talked about development with the respective field.
They underscored the need for consultation and exchange of views between both countries- to build a solid partnership in multilateral forums and to ensure the prioritization of the development plan of the global south.
To strengthen the political and economic relations, both the countries agreed on continuing such deliberation in the future through an exchange of official visits, facilitating engagements and cooperation across levels in various possible fields.