The relations between Algeria and South Africa are deep rooted in history, cemented by the same aspiration for the ideals of peace and justice in the world and a common vision with respect to the main regional and international issues, as illustrated by the leading role the two countries are playing in promoting and defending African causes and interests.
In line with this, Algeria unwaveringly supported, in every respect, the South African people and its leaders represented by the late NELSON MANDELA himself as well as emblematic figures like Walter SISULU, Oliver TAMBO and Miriam MAKEBA, in their just cause of freedom and dignity recovery.
The celebrated words of the late MANDELA during a gathering following his release from jail «Algeria is my country» are a tribute to the symbiosis which has ever characterized the deep bonds between the Algerian and South African peoples.
The late Mandela received a military training from the militants of the Algerian National Liberation Army and developed political and strategic links between the revolutions of freedom in Algeria and in South Africa as it is clearly reflected in Madiba’s diary. Just with the accession of Algeria to independence in 1962, the African National Congress (ANC) opened an office in Algiers. Umkhonto we Sizwe recruits have also been trained in Algeria after the independence of our country.
The solidarity of Algeria with the South African people has been illustrated again by the leading role played by our country in the expulsion of apartheid South Africa from the United Nations General Assembly in 1974. The General Assembly was then under the chairperson of HE. Mr. Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA, who was at that time Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria. This contribution of President BOUTEFLIKA is well known as “BOUTEFLIKA’s ruling”.
Just after his release from prison in 1990, the late Nelson MANDELA visited Algiers where he paid a special tribute to Algeria for the strong and permanent support given to the South Africans and himself in the struggle for freedom and dignity.
Following the passing of the late MANDELA, President BOUTEFLIKA decreed eight days of national mourning, an honour usually reserved only to the Algerian Heads of State.
Drawing on the same source of values, Algeria and South Africa are today engaged in a strategic partnership materialized by one of the first bi-national commissions for cooperation established by South Africa with another country, the Algerian-South African High Binational Commission for Cooperation (HCBNC), created by Agreement of 22 September 2000.
Since the first session of the HCBNC which took place during the working and friendly visit to Algeria, in September 2000, by His Excellency Thabo MBEKI, then President of the Republic of South Africa, the bilateral cooperation has been significantly strengthened notably through a rich legal framework with the signing of numerous agreements and their implementation in various fields and also by a regular political dialogue and consultation.
The two countries are acting resolutely and methodically to translate this partnership into tangible actions in various areas.
The visit that His Excellency Mr. Jacob ZUMA, President of the Republic of South Africa, carriedout to Algeria in March 2015, the highly important meetings that took place on this occasion with His Excellency President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA and the holding of the Sixth Session of the High Binational Commission for Cooperation, illustrated the magnitude and the strategic nature of the relations between Algeria and South Africa. On that occasion, the progress of the bilateral cooperation was assessed and new areas for partnership were identified. A memorandum of understanding on political consultations was signed. The first session of the consultations took place in November 2015.
The two Heads of State agreed also on the necessity of further raising the level of economic cooperation between the two countries.
An Algerian- South African Joint Committee on Trade and Investment will be established in the near future to boost trade exchanges and seize the tremendous economic opportunities offered by the scope of the two countries partnership. Algeria is South Africa’s largest trading partner in the region and bilateral trade has steadily increased over the last few years.
The Algerian-South African cooperation in science and technology is, on the other hand, excellent with very promising perspectives while cultural exchanges are steadily evolving.
As the two peoples were in the midst of their struggle for emancipation, the relations between Algeria and South Africa have been shaped, since the beginning, by a common awareness that Africa, from Algiers to Cape Town, should be master of its own destiny.
The two countries are today leading partners in defending the interests of Africa, its values, its principles and its aspirations.
In their efforts to combat instability and appease the African continent so that it entirely dedicates itself to the challenges of development and integration, Algeria and South Africa have similar positions on political solutions for conflicts, crises, and tensions as well as on the quest for ways to make Africa a credible and efficient actor in the prevention and management of conflicts on the basis of the principle of «African solutions to African problems».
The two countries Africa were among the initiators of a number of African mechanisms, including the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The exercise “Amani Africa II” which took place in 2015 in South Africa and in which Algeria put its own air transport capacities at the disposal of the African contingents, illustrates the common commitment of the two countries. The same goes for the efforts of Algeria and South Africa to set up the African immediate crisis response capacity in order to better transpose into reality the vision of a unified, peaceful and prosperous Africa.