SOUTH AFRICA has reaffirmed a 2008 agreement on economic and social co-operation with Malawi, a move that could offer further opportunities for SA’s private sector to invest in Malawi, said Deputy Minister of International Affairs and Co-operation Ebrahim Ebrahim on Friday.
The agreement could also increase trade levels, Mr Ebrahim said.
Speaking at the conclusion of a two-day bilateral discussion with Malawi, Mr Ebrahim said a deal had been reached on increasing the role of South Africa’s mining and agriculture sectors in economic relations, while new lines of credit should be opened to Malawi in order to stimulate that country’s development.
The meeting took place within the framework of a 2008 Joint Commission for Co-operation covering areas such as trade and investment, energy, transport, and security.
Mr Ebrahim said South Africa was seeking to increase economic relations with Malawi, due to the prospects of the continent’s high economic growth rate
The agreement signed last week, however, also covered cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes.
Despite the parties having engaged in talks dealing with security, Malawian Foreign Minister Ephraim Chiume said on Friday that his country would not be seeking the involvement of the South African Development Community (Sadc), or any African mediator, in its border dispute with neighbour and fellow Sadc member Tanzania.
The dispute stems from the delineation of borders in Lake Malawi dating back to the colonial area, with the disputed sections of the lake possibly containing large oil deposits. There was also a chance that the dispute could result in conflict.
Mr Chiume said Sadc’s tribunal “unfortunately” remained suspended, while mediators involved in other conflicts on the continent had proven to be ineffective.
The matter was likely to go directly to the International Court of Justice, he said.
Malawi was relying upon a colonial-era agreement (from 1890) that stipulates the border between the two countries lies along the Tanzanian shore of the lake, whereas Tanzania’s argument is based on an international law, which states that where two countries are separated by a body of water, the boundary will be in the middle of the body.
Mr Chiume said on Friday that the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 had upheld a treaty on borders being fixed upon independence, a resolution that had been sponsored by former Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere.
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