Indonesia, S Africa agree to strengthen Indian Ocean Rim cooperation

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi and her South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane have agreed to strengthen regional cooperation among members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

The agreement was concluded during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) at the Jakarta Convention Center here on Tuesday.

According to a press statement released after the closed door meeting, Minister Marsudi noted that it is necessary for both the countries to have the same vision as Indonesia and South Africa are the chair and vice chair of IORA, respectively.

Indonesia and South Africa would also host the IORA Council of Ministers Meeting and other related meetings in Jakarta next October, where the member countries would contribute and cooperate in creating an IORA Action Plan and an IORA Concord.

At the global level, Indonesia and South Africa are also the co-chairs of the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership (NAASP), where both are committed to implement the Declaration on Reinvigorating NAASP.

During Tuesday's meeting, the two ministers also discussed bilateral cooperation in various fields, particularly economy, trade and investment.

Indonesia is specifically keen to push cooperation in production and marketing, as well as in holding the third meeting of Joint Trade Committee in South Africa.

Minister Marsudi said the forum would be bridging any gap between the Indonesian and South African business sectors to increase bilateral trade cooperation.

According to the Indonesian Trade Ministry, South Africa is its second largest trade partner in the African continent, with trade value reaching US$898 million in 2015, the surplus of US$434.19 being in favor of Indonesia.(*)