President Jacob Zuma has arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia to attend the Summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Business Forum and Leaders’ Summit and to undertake a State Visit at the invitation of President Joko Widodo.
The IORA Summit has been convened under the theme “Strengthening Maritime Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous Indian Ocean” to commemorate 20 years of the Association’s existence. South Africa and Indonesia are both founding members of the IORA, which consists of twenty one coastal Member States bordering the Indian Ocean, stretching from South Africa in the west, running up the eastern coast of Africa, along the Gulf to South and Southeast Asia, ending with Australia in the east.
Indonesia served as Vice Chair of IORA from 2013 until 2015, and is the current Chair. South Africa served as Vice Chair from 2015 and will assume the Chair from October 2017 until 2019.
The Association’s current membership is:
- Southern and Eastern Africa: Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Somalia, and Tanzania.
- The Gulf: Iran, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
- South Asia: Bangladesh, India, and Sri-Lanka
- The South Eastern Indian Ocean: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
The IORA is also supported by seven Dialogue Partners: China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The IORA has observer status at the United Nations and the African Union.
The Indian Ocean region’s population is home to nearly one-third of the world’s population and is of great economic significance, due to its strategic location. Half of the world’s trade travels through this region. In addition, the ocean that binds the Rim together possesses a variety of natural resources that are vital for the wellbeing of its inhabitants, safe trade and environmental stability. The IORA’s vast coastline holds two thirds of the world’s oil reserves, carries half of the world’s container ships and one third of the bulk cargo traffic and produces goods and services worth over US$1 trillion, with intra-IORA trade amounting to some US$777 billion.
President Zuma will use the opportunity to promote stronger economic cooperation within the IORA countries. South Africa also wishes to see enhanced interaction between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Association of South Eastern Asian Nations, to which many IORA countries belong, in order to advance greater South-South cooperation as was envisaged during the Bandung Conference in 1955 from which the Non-Aligned Movement emerged.
During the state visit, the President will promote stronger ties with Indonesia in business, trade and investment, as well as promote South Africa as a viable destination for Indonesian tourists, business and investments.
The President will also promote investment in the country’s ocean economy, in key areas such as marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, agro-processing, mining and mineral beneficiation, renewable energy, finance and tourism.
South Africa’s major exports to Indonesia include chemical wood pulp, ferrous waste, iron ore, aluminium, apples, pears, and mechanical appliances. Indonesia’s main exports to South Africa include: palm oil, rubber, coconut oil, automotives, original equipment components, ceramic wares, certain chemicals, and footwear. In recent times, South African companies have explored opportunities for investment in Indonesia, including SASOL, Old Mutual, Sanlam, Denel and the Paramount Group.
The President is accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana and the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Presidency.