SA, France ties stronger - Zuma

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma says South Africa's relationship with France has grown, deepened and matured over the years.

Zuma said the relationship has tangible programmes and projects of cooperation, which have diversified and strengthened over the past 15 years.

"Despite the effects of the world economic and financial crisis, France continues to be one of our biggest trading partners and investors," he said.

French companies provide employment to more than 30 000 people in South Africa. 

Speaking in France, President Zuma said: "France's commitment to democracy, respect for human rights and social justice makes it a natural partner for South Africa.

"Friendship and co-operation can only occur in a relationship where there are shared values," Zuma said.

"We look forward to the Business Forum meeting, where we can look at even more opportunities to intensify the trade and investment relations between our two countries."

Zuma is on a state visit to France at the invitation of his counterpart Nicholas Sarkozy, accompanied by several Cabinet ministers and a business delegation.

South Africa and France have ongoing cooperation in the important field of energy.

Zuma thanked the French government for their unequivocal support for the country's five development priorities. 

"We have asked all sectors of society to focus on creating jobs to help us deal with poverty and unemployment. At the same time, we will not neglect education and skills development, health, rural development and land reform, and combating crime and corruption, our additional priorities," he said. - BuaNews