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Minister-President Bourgeois on 11-day visit to Southern Africa

Minister-President Bourgeois on 11-day visit to Southern Africa

The Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, H. E. Mr. Geert Bourgeois, undertook a 11 day visit to South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique from 15 to 26 August 2017. The visit had a strong focus on the development cooperation between Flanders and these 3 partner countries, and included site visits to projects throughout the region. In addition, Mr. Bourgeois also met with a number of political leaders in the three countries and attended activities that showcase the wide variety of the cooperation with the Southern African region: be it academic cooperation, economic cooperation and trade, human rights, and so on.

In South Africa, the Minister-President met with Western Cape Premier Helen Zille to discuss cooperation in development, climate change, academia and research. He also met with several government departments with which Flanders enjoys a close relationship; he had meetings with Ms. Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr. Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic Development, and Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

The site visits included a visit to All Women Recycling, a green and social enterprise that is supported by Flanders via the SEED project. All Women Recycling turns plastic waste bottles into gifts boxes and exports all over the world. Philippi Village is a business and development hub that showcases social entrepreneurship. GROW with Educare Centres is located at the Business Village. Waste to Food, a project which recycles food waste into high quality organic products, fits into our current cooperation focus on climate change and the green economy. on 17 August, the delegation went on a site visit to the Peers II - Trias project in Alexandra. Peers II combines the expertise of the Flemish organisations Trias ngo and Unizo, with the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Afrikaans Handelsinstituut, working together to promote 9 local Chambers of Commerce specifically geared toward township economies. The Minister-President also gave the keynote lecture at the University of Pretoria's Centre for Human Rights on the occasion of the Advanced Human Rights Course on the Right to Development. In Diepsloot, he visited the Mobile Clinic project, which will be replicated by IDC and the Government of Flanders in the Free State.

In Malawi, Mr. Bourgeois attended a state dinner hosted by His Excellency President A.P. Mutharika He also visited the Kasungu District, where he met several organisations, including the Farmer Field School, the Chilanga Farmer Organisation and Farm Radio Trust. Mr. Bourgeois was then hosted by the Hon. Joseph Mwanamvekha, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and his Secretary-General, Mrs. Erica Maganga and attended an important reception celebrating 10 years of cooperation between Flanders and Malawi.

The Minister-President ended his visit to Southern Africa with a 3-day state visit to Mozambique. The Minister-President met with President Filipe Nyusi and held discussions with Hon. Oldemiro Balói, minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and Hon. Nazira Abdula, minister of Health, with whom Mr. Bourgeois signed a Memorandum of Understanding on assistance to the Common Fund for the Health Sector (PROSAUDE). He was also able to interact with representatives of (donor) organisations, including the WHO, the Trojka group in the health sector, CUAMM, Pathfinder and UNFPA and to visit key projects which receive support from Flanders. These included the Matola 2 centre, part of the DREAM project which works to reduce maternal deaths caused by HIV and prevent mother-to-child transmission, APOPO's HeroRATs - a project which trains giant African pouched rats to detect mines and tuberculosis, and a project carried out by Centro Internacional Para Saúde Reprodutiva - ICRH-M, in collaboration with Ghent University, around family planning advice by women’s groups and activists.

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