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Pandor: SA will continue to stand for human rights, peace, African development

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor welcomed the new African Free Trade Area on Friday, saying the focus must now move towards the continent being productive.

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor being sworn in on Thursday, 30 May 2019 for President Cyril Ramaphosa's new Cabinet. Picture: @Dirco_ZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor welcomed the new African Free Trade Area on Friday, saying the focus must now move towards the continent being productive.

On Thursday, the African Union announced that 22 countries had ratified the agreement that opens a R2.5 trillion market.

After taking her oath of office, Pandor said South Africa's foreign policy would continue to support respect for human rights and a multipolar world.

As Pandor was taking her oath at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria on Thursday, the African Union in Addis Ababa announced that the Africa Free Trade Area was official.

Pandor welcomed the announcement: “It’s great that the right number of countries have entered into force so we now should pay attention to the productive elements of the economies of the continent so that we can have the appropriate exchange of goods among ourselves.”

Pandor said South Africa would continue to stand for respect for human rights, the pursuit of peace and development on the African continent.

She said the republic would make a mark as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

“I think one of the areas that should be of great interest is this looming trade war between a very significant partner for South Africa, which is China, but also the United States (US) as an important export destination for us.”

Pandor said she would retain South Africa’s character and ethos.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)