JOHANNESBURG, August 3 – Mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with his Central African Republic (CAR) counterpart, Leopold Mboli-Fatrane, which commits the two countries to a cooperation agreement on mineral and upstream petroleum development.
The MoU was signed on Wednesday based on the friendship and common interests between South Africa and CAR as Zwane was hosted by Mboli-Fatrane in the capital Bangui.
This comes after the meeting between Presidents Faustin-Archange Touadera and Jacob Zuma during the State visit of the CAR’s Head of State to South Africa in April, when both ministers, Mboli-Fatrane and Zwane, reaffirmed their commitment to formalise relations to collaborate in mining and upstream petroleum development.
The MoU denotes key areas of cooperation, which include exploration, mining, processing and beneficiation of minerals, environmental management, community development and mine health and safety, exchange of expertise, skills development and human capacity building in the fields of exploration, reciprocal investment promotion initiatives, and others.
The Department of Mineral Resources (DRM) said that the ministers expressed satisfaction with the areas of cooperation contained in the MoU and endorsed an apex of priority for implementation of the portfolio of collaboration initiative.
In this regard, the Ministers prioritised certain areas for immediate implementation, including recognising the paucity of geological knowledge of the CAR, directing the Council for Geosciences (CGS) to work with relevant institutions of the CAR to start with pre-competitive exploration programme, with emphasis on geological mapping and hydro-geological investigations.
After visiting the University of Bangui’s sciences faculty, the ministers acknowledged the state of dire need for institutional capacity development at the university and directed that special attention be given to the university.
The ministers further identified an important need for an inward-focused promotion of investment in mining and upstream petroleum resources. In this regard, the ministers agreed to convene a Mining Investment Forum in Bangui within nine months from the date of signing the MoU.
The DMR said the ministers directed officials to develop a comprehensive implementation plan within a month, under the leadership of the respective directors-general within their departments. They further directed that the technical teams meet in Bangui before September-end.
The Ministers noted the sacrifices of the 13 South African soldiers who perished in seeking to secure peace and stability in the CAR, and agreed to pay tribute to the fallen heroes and honour them through effective and efficient implementation of the MoU being signed.
Thirteen South African soldiers were killed in a nine-hour “high-tempo battle” in Bangui in 2013 as Seleka rebels seized the capital.
– African News Agency (ANA)