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The Director General of the OIE, Dr Bernard Vallat at the South African Parliament

During his official mission to South Africa where he visited several official veterinary facilities and laboratories, the Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) was invited as a special guest to attend the parliamentarian session on the budget of the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs.

While mentioning the need for strengthening veterinary services, the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs acknowledged the presence of Dr Vallat at the Assembly and stressed the good collaboration of South Africa with both the OIE and the SADC (Southern African Development Community) in order to improve the capacities of the African continent with regard to animal diseases management and control.

"The management of animal health and diseases is a key factor for the agricultural economy and the protection of public health not only here in South Africa, but world wide", Dr Vallat commented. "The harmonization of national standards with the international standards of the OIE is crucial to safeguard international market access opportunities of each Member Country of the OIE. I think that what has been discussed here at the South African Parliament represents an important step in the collaboration between that country and the OIE, for the benefit of the entire African Continent", he added. After he concluded his five days of official visit to South Africa, Dr Vallat continued his mission to the African Continent by visiting Botswana for a three days consultation that included negotiations with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). He visited the national Botswanian veterinary and meat export facilities, as well as the OIE reference laboratory of that country. "I am very positively impressed by the high level of the veterinary organisation of Botswana", Dr Vallat said "and I think that its capacity proves that African countries can definitely access the international market of animal products if appropriate national policies are implemented."