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Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meet on Tuesday September 1, 1998 in Durban South Africa.

The meeting, which is taking place against the backdrop of the 12th Non-Aligned Summit in progress in Durban, has been convened to facilitate co-operation between the two Regions. This meeting was one of two suggested by His Excellency the President of South Africa Nelson Mandela during his discussions with CARICOM Heads of Government during the recent XIX Meeting of the Conference in St Lucia.

The other meeting, also scheduled for later this week, will be held between CARICOM Foreign Ministers and the South African Foreign Minister to explore the establishment of a CARICOM/South Africa Joint Commission to further relations between the Region and South Africa.

Tuesday’s meeting follows visits by CARICOM Secretary-General Mr Edwin Carrington to SADC’s Botswana headquarters in November 1995 and a reciprocal visit by SADC’s Secretary-General Dr Kaire Mbuende to CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters in March 1997. At that second meeting the two integration groupings agreed to explore co-operation in trade and investment, culture, information, technology, statistics, health, education, sport, youth development and communications.

During the CARICOM Trade and Investment Mission to South Africa in January 1998, some members of the Mission took the opportunity to establish relations in neighbouring Southern African countries. Further there are on-going areas of co-operation between the two regions particularly in education.

Students from Namibia and Zimbabwe have been trained in the Caribbean while Botswana has recruited teachers and other technical personnel from the Region. The Bahamas has provided assistance to South Africa in housing.

The Member States of SADC are: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In September 1997, SADC leaders approved applications of two new members, the Democratic Republic of Congo and The Seychelles.

SADC countries account for 40 percent of Africa’s population, 81 percent of the total Gross National Product, 81 percent of imports and 80 percent of the continent’s total exports.

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