South Africa and Kazakhstan have expressed satisfaction with the trade and economic relations between the two countries but say that there is still considerable potential to increase bilateral trade.

“Both parties agreed to work towards a closer co-operation in the fields of mining, energy and agriculture. It was further agreed that these sectors will be reviewed on an annual basis to allow further expansion in terms of economic cooperation,” the two countries said in a joint communique issued after the 5th Round of the South Africa-Kazakhstan Bilateral Political Consultations held last week.

The consultations, which were co-chaired by International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo and her Kazakhstan counterpart, Akylbek Kamaldinov, were held in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, from Wednesday to Sunday.

The two sides noted the potential of both countries in exploring business opportunities in the corresponding regions — Kazakhstan as a hub for central Asia and the Eurasian Economic Union, and South Africa as the hub for southern Africa and the Southern Africa Development Community.

In order to achieve the desired levels of co-operation, the two sides agreed to maintain the political dialogue, through the exchange of official visits, including high-level visits, as well as facilitating engagements and cooperation on all levels, including civil society and inter-parliamentary co-operation.

They also discussed perspectives of co-operation in higher education, science and technology and the promotion of cultural relations and co-operation. They agreed to explore a programme to exchange representatives from universities and institutions of higher learning from both countries. Both parties will promote scholarship programmes.