Zuma departs for Paris

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will today depart for Paris ahead of his state visit to that country at the invitation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The meeting of the two Presidents is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. 

South Africa and France have warm bilateral relations spanning across social, economic and political spheres. France chairs the G8 and G20 this year, which provides more avenues for cooperation at a multilateral level. Both countries chair the G20 Development Working Group. 

South Africa will seek to deepen cooperation with France on the five national priorities -- education, health, rural development, the fight against crime and creating decent work. Also important is a massive infrastructure roll out. 

The creation of decent jobs is foremost in these priorities, and Zuma will be accompanied by a business delegation, some of whom specialise in the six growth areas mentioned in the New Growth Path. These are infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism. 

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan are accompanying the President and will engage the business community of France to promote investments that will take forward South Africa's quest for creating decent work.

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters will be engaging on issues of energy, including alternative energy, in light of South Africa's strategy to double its energy capacity by 2030, and for the "de-carbonization" of its energy sector, which is today 70 percent dependant on coal. The visit will touch on investments in the green economy sector.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana Mashabane, is planning to hold talks on the African Agenda, involving both the long standing issues of political and economic challenges faced by the continent and the recent spate of unrest in the continent, particularly in Cote d'Ivoire and North Africa. 

Important multilateral issues include climate change and South Africa's hosting of COP17/CMP7, reform of the Security Council and the Bretton Woods institutions.

Further strengthening cooperation on safety and security and building on the collaboration with the French police during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup will be high on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's agenda during the visit.

At the end of the visit on Thursday, the President will travel to Nouakchott in Mauritania, on a working visit in his capacity as a member of the African Union High-Level Panel for the Resolution of the Crisis in Cote d'Ivoire.

The panel was established by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union at the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Addis Ababa on 28 January 2011.

It will hold a follow up meeting on Thursday in Nouakchott to discuss the outcome of last week's visit to Cote d'Ivoire.

The President is expected to return to South Africa on Saturday. - BuaNews