Trade, job creation central to Norway visit

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has used his state visit to Norway to raise South Africa's trade and job creation profile.

"We look forward to increasing trade between our two countries as part of efforts to boost job creation as envisaged in the growth framework. We will use this visit to strengthen cooperation in our national priorities, especially in addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment," said Zuma at a gala dinner at the Royal Palace on Wednesday.

Norway's King Harald V paid a state visit to South Africa in 2009, and Zuma's two-day reciprocal visit this week is intended to further strengthen relations between the two countries. 

In 2009, the two nations recommitted themselves to advance relation from various fields like political, cultural and socio-economic matters. The President said South Africa looks forward to strengthening this partnership.

He said in order for South Africa to reach its full potential, political freedom alone was not sufficient.
"The political freedom we have gained must be complemented by economic freedom," explained the President.

A South African business delegation is also accompanying Zuma. "They are here to further explore opportunities in this country, which will assist us to further boost our economic ties and jobs," said Zuma.

Trade between South Africa and Norway has steadily increased in value, from R746 million in 2005 to R3.18 billion last year.

The President added that South Africa looked forward to welcoming the Norwegian delegation at the COP 17 climate change deliberations in Durban, set to start at the end of November. "Preparations are on track and we look forward to a successful engagement in Durban."

The President also took the time to convey condolences following the July bomb blast in Oslo and a shooting incident on Utoya Island. 

"Allow me to reiterate, on behalf of my government and the people of South Africa, our deepest condolences to the government and the people of Norway, and especially to the families who lost their loved ones, both in Oslo and on Utoya Island. 

"That horrible tragedy shocked and outraged the whole world. Such barbaric acts have no place in modern society. We wish Norway well in her process of healing," said Zuma.

Zuma is being accompanied on the visit by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk. - BuaNews

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