Zuma on first state visit to Angola

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma is to pay his first official visit to Angola on Wednesday, said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

The President will be accompanied by eleven of his Cabinet ministers, including International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Home Affairs Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

A South African business delegation will also be part of the trip that is aimed at consolidating strategic bilateral and economic relations between South Africa and Angola.

"This will be the largest business delegation to take part in a state visit since 1994.

"There is a growing sense that stronger relations will be mutually beneficial, both at a political level as well as in the private sector," the department said.

While in the capital city Luanda, President Zuma will hold bilateral, political and economic discussions with his counterpart President Eduardo dos Santos.

Among the issues expected to be discussed are the forthcoming Southern African Development Community Summit, scheduled to take place in the DRC, as well as the political situation in the region.

President Ds Santos will also host President Zuma and his delegation for a state dinner while a business conference is expected to take place.

"The two Presidents will also address the combined and business communities. A joint programme of action will be unveiled by the business sector to both Presidents, aimed at elevating economic diplomacy".

Angola has great resources and there was a massive interest by the South African private sector to get involved in the Angolan reconstruction process, especially the southern part of the country which was severely devastated by wars.

Angola also views South Africa's human resources potential and its strong infrastructure as added benefits in the relationship.

In 2006, SA exports to Angola amounted to R5 billion whilst Angolan exports to South Africa stood at R3 billion.

Earlier this year, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane also visited Angola as a Special Envoy of President Zuma to President Dos Santos.