Tshwane Pretoria
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Women’s empowerment will be an important cross cutting theme that South Africa will prioritise during its tenure as the vice chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

This, as the association views empowerment of women as an important contributor to reducing unemployment and for the subsequent alleviation of poverty.

South Africa will become the Vice Chair and a member of the Association’s Troika, along with Indonesia and Australia, and will Chair IORA from 2017-2019.

« As Chair, we will also have an African perspective as we will seek to align the activities of IORA to the ‘2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy’ (the AIM Strategy) in areas such as maritime security, capacity building, skills development, and technology transfer in the ocean economy, » said Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Nomaindiya Mfeketo.

The Deputy Minister is in Padang, Indonesia, where she is leading a South African delegation to the 15th IORA council of ministers.

Deputy Minister Mfeketo said IORA should focus on important priority areas such as Ocean Economy which South Africa views as a strategic focus area for the foreseeable future.

« In this regard our preliminary priorities include the Blue (Ocean) Economy; promoting innovation, research and development; and a deepened and broadened interaction with the dialogue partners and regional organisations. »

IORA is an association of 20 member states that are brought together by a shared commitment to build a stable, secure and prosperous Indian Ocean region.

The Deputy Minister said South Africa views the IORA as the pre-eminent regional organisation linking Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australasia via the Indian Ocean.

« The geo-strategic and burgeoning importance of the region cannot be overemphasized. The association is at a critical time in its history as we prepare to celebrate 20 years of its existence in 2017, and as we seek to elevate its stature and consolidate its work programme for the next decade and beyond. »

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