Zuma to sign R10bn deal with France

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cape Town - South Africa is expected to benefit from one billion euros (R10 billion) in funding when President Jacob Zuma signs an agreement with the French Development Agency during a state visit to France, which starts tomorrow.

Briefing the media in Parliament today, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Marius Fransman, said the funding would be made available by the French agency over a period of three years through various financing mechanisms under the New Partnership Framework. 

Zuma is expected to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister Francoise Fillon, as well as the President of the National Assembly Bernard Accoyer, President of the French Senate Gerard Larcher, and the mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe.

Fransman said Zuma is expected to discuss issues of the African continent, while France's presidency of the G20 and South Africa's hosting of CoP17 were likely to feature high on the agenda of the two heads of state.

A new forum for economic dialogue would also be launched during Zuma's two-day state visit to complement the existing forum for political dialogue.

Zuma will be accompanied by the Ministers of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, Finance Pravin Gordhan, Police Nathi Mthethwa, Energy Dipuo Peters and International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Fransman said South Africa would be hosting the first meeting of the Global Commission on Electoral Processes, which takes place on Friday and Saturday and will be attended by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The commission, a joint initiative of the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (Idea), is aimed at making recommendations to governments and organisations on measures to enhance electoral practices.

The meeting will also be attended by former Presidents of Botswana Festus Mogae, Mexico Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon and Finland Martti Ahtisaari. 

Turning to Zimbabwe, Fransman said the South African government continued to call for the lifting of targeted sanctions on that country.

Fransman said it was notable that businesses in some countries which were enforcing sanctions on Zimbabwe were having "real and practical relations" with the country.

This, he said, indicated that the economic climate was improving and was a reason to consider lifting sanctions. 

He said that while the economic conditions had improved in Zimbabwe, the political situation remained "polarised" - with the ongoing dispute over the appointments of the attorney-general, the reserve bank governor, provincial governors, as well as the ongoing court battle over Roy Bennett, designated as the country's deputy minister of agriculture.

Fransman said any election held without the finalisation of the constitution making process will be in breach of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), as well as the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 19, which provides legitimacy to the new inclusive government.

Fransman said South Africa was also calling for a cleaning up of the voters' roll by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

He said the ZEC had begun working with the registrar general's office to ensure the voters' roll is in order in time for the referendum, expected in the second half of this year. - BuaNews