Africa's first female President visits SA

Friday, August 11, 2017
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While South Africa continues to celebrate women for their contribution towards the country’s freedom and democracy, Africa’s first elected female Head of State is in the country on a State Visit.

President Jacob Zuma today hosted Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the Union Buildings in Tshwane.

Her visit comes two days after a successful National Women’s Day commemoration that was held in Galeshewe in Kimberly, on Wednesday.

Her visit to South Africa is an important vehicle for economic growth and cooperation between the two countries and will further contribute to strengthening intra-trade relations in the continent of Africa.

President Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga shared with SAnews on Friday morning the importance and relevance of President Johnson Sirleaf’s visit to the country.

He said it is crucial for South Africa to celebrate its own achievement in promoting women rights and ensuring that opportunities are opened for them, not only in the political sphere but also in other spheres.

“South Africa and Liberia enjoy strong and historic relations. Former President Nelson Mandela visited Liberia in 1962 to mobilise political support in the fight against apartheid. We started our diplomatic relations in 1997 and since then they have grown in leaps and bounds.

“This visit will be used to reflect on the progress that we have made since 1997, especially in the economic sphere.”

Ngqulunga said one of the agreements that will be signed today is a joint agreement to promote trade and investment between the two countries.

The economic relations between the two countries, especially in terms of trade, are not high. Ngqulunga said the two Heads of State will discuss what needs to be done to improve trade relations.

He said another agreement to promote easy movement, especially of diplomats, between two countries will also be signed.

“Liberia will be having Presidential and legislative elections in the next few months, and they have requested the Electoral Commission of South Africa to assist them. This will be one of the issues that are going to be discussed.”

South Africa and Liberia maintain good diplomatic and political relations since the attainment of freedom and democracy in South Africa.

The two countries have since signed a General Co-operation Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding on Economic and Technical Cooperation.

These agreements allow the two countries to engage on a number of areas of possible cooperation, including agriculture, energy, infrastructure development, capacity and institutional building and trade, as well as in the health sector.

During the State Visit, the two Heads of State will review the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, as well as progress made with regard to finalizing outstanding agreements. The visit will serve to further deepen cooperation between the two countries. -

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