Zuma to make his first official visit as SA President

Thursday, July 30, 2009
By: 
Bathandwa Mbola

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will in August travel to Angola, as his first official visit to any country.

"The fact that the first visit is in the continent is deliberate and it is in line with our view to further deepen and expand bilateral relations. We believe this is a very important visit given the fact that Angola plays a major role, not only in SADC but the whole continent," said International Relations and Cooperation Director General Ayanda Ntsaluba on Thursday.

The President will visit the country between 19 and 21 August.

Briefing the media, Mr Ntsaluba said that in the medium term, President Zuma wanted to ensure that foreign relations contributed to the creation of an environment conducive to sustainable economic growth and development.

Bordering the South Atlantic Ocean and nestled between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Namibia, Angola is one of the continents leaders in economic growth.

Its high growth has been driven by its oil sector. Oil production and its supporting activities contribute to about half of Angola's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 90 percent of its exports.

A post-war reconstruction boom, following 27 years of civil war, and the resettlement of displaced persons has led to high rates of growth in construction and agriculture as well.

According to a report on regional economic developments, issued by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in June, the Angolan economy is among the top 10 best performers in Africa.

In Southern Africa, Angola is at the top, followed by Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.

With regard to financial management, Angola is among the three best African countries. The national currency, the Kwanza, had an appreciation of 8.5 percent relative to the United States dollar in 2006.

Angola's economic stability is not only the result of the increase of oil revenues, but also because of inflows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), a sustainable monetary policy and a macro-economic management

Regarding Zimbabwe, Mr Ntsaluba said South Africa had transferred about $200 million to Zimbabwe's new power-sharing government.

Government had secured $300 million in budget support from its neighbours to revive the country's economy.

"This grant is aimed at assisting Zimbabwe in some of the critical sectors that require assistance," explained Mr Nstuluba, adding that a report indicates that the money was used towards the improvement of the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

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