28 May 2021
Your Excellency President Emmanuel Macron,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors,
Members of the media,
President Macron and I have just concluded official talks as part of his first state visit to South Africa.
Our discussions focused on the grave challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, global peace and security and relations between our two countries.
The severe impact of the pandemic on human health, on society and on economies has demonstrated the need for international solidarity and strengthened multilateralism in addressing global challenges.
South Africa and France have a shared interest in ensuring that multilateral efforts are effective in ending the pandemic, resuming international travel and commerce, accelerating economic recovery and strengthening public health systems.
This pandemic has shown that disasters of this scale respect no borders and that no one is safe until all of us are safe.
It is for this reason that we must accelerate our collective efforts to ensure that vaccines become a global public good and are made accessible to all countries in the shortest possible time.
As part of these efforts, Africa is working to develop its own vaccine production capabilities and capacity to ensure security of supply.
While funding is key, it needs to be complemented by the transfer of technology and a commitment by international procurement agencies to buy vaccines made in Africa.
President Macron and I share a commitment to make the knowledge related to COVID-19 health technologies and products a global public good.
President Macron and I have further agreed to work towards expanding research, innovation and production beyond COVID-19 to promote public health security in Africa.
South Africa and France enjoy an in-depth, diverse, dynamic and strategic partnership that delivers important benefits for both our nations.
We therefore reaffirmed the importance and the strength of our bilateral trade and investment relationship, and will continue working together to remove obstacles to bilateral and regional trade and investment.
Both countries agreed to work together towards the implementation of the EU-SADC Partnership Agreement and the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
We have recognised the crucial importance of building businesses and entrepreneurs and providing education and skills for the future.
We look forward to France’s continued involvement in the Square Kilometre Array intergovernmental radio telescope project, and its related fields of research and development.
We recognise that the climate change threat, the loss of biological diversity and other global environmental challenges must be addressed with urgency and ambition.
South Africa and France are fully committed to the progressive development of a multilateral response to global environmental challenges, guided by science and the principles of fairness and equality.
We agreed to continue working together towards a prosperous, secure and peaceful future for the African continent.
We re-affirmed the bonds of friendship and solidarity that exist between our two countries, and we look forward to continued collaboration for the benefit of our peoples, our countries, our respective regions and the world.
I thank you.