MINSK, 29 September (BelTA) – Minsk Oblast Governor Aleksandr Turchin met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of South Africa to Russia and concurrently to Belarus Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka in Minsk on 29 September, BelTA has learned.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways of intensifying interregional cooperation between the countries.
"I arrived in Belarus to present my letters of credence to President Aleksandr Lukashenko and to establish contacts with various departments. Fro example, I met with the governor of Minsk Oblast. We had a thorough discussion and decided to cooperate in two areas: agriculture and machinery engineering,” Ambassador Mzuvukile Jeff Maketuka said.
According to him, the political and cultural ties between the two states are quite strong, there is mutual understanding. Cooperation will be established with other regions of the country. "For the time being, the provinces of Mpumalanga and the Free State are the most active in terms of cooperation with Belarus on our part," the ambassador stressed.
According to the governor, Minsk Oblast currently supplies BelAZ rock haulers and potash fertilizers to South Africa but is poised to step up cooperation in other areas as well. “We have outlined a few concrete steps and soon we will exchange invitations with South Africa for more detailed talks. Today's meeting was more of an introductory nature,” Governor Aleksandr Turchin said.
Plans are in place to prepare materials on the potential of Minsk Oblast and present it to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in order to establish closer cooperation in different areas between the South African and Belarusian capital regions.
Belarus and South Africa established diplomatic relations on 4 March 1993.
In 2020, the bilateral trade amounted to $25.7 million. Major exports included potash fertilizers, dump trucks, parts and components for machinery, ferrous metal products. Imports comprised fruit, wine, and nuts.
BelAZ resumed its supplies to South Africa in 2020 following a six-year hiatus. The BelAZ fleet in South Africa numbers 49 vehicles at present. There is also a BelAZ maintenance center in the country.