President Thabo Mbeki to pay State Visit to Republic of Congo, Wednesday, 30 November - Thursday, 1 December 2005

Tshwane - South African President Thabo Mbeki will pay a State Visit to the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) from Wednesday, 30 November - Thursday, 1 December 2005.

The Presidential delegation to Congo-Brazzaville will include Ministers Mandisi Mphalwa, Jeff Radebe and Pallo Jordan.

President Thabo Mbeki's visit to Congo-Brazzaville comes within the context of South Africa's objective to consolidate relations with all countries of the Continent. Within this objective is South Africa's commitment to establish a South African Mission in each of Africa's 53 countries.

President Thabo Mbeki is expected to hold bilateral political and economic discussions with his counterpart, President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Wednesday, 30 November 2005. Issues on the agenda of discussions are expected to include, among others:

  • The status of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries;
  • Possible areas of future co-operation including: agriculture, minerals and energy, tourism, transport, health, safety and security and arts and culture;
  • A briefing by President Mbeki on the recently concluded Commonwealth Heads of State and Government meeting in Malta;
  • Regional developments including the situation in Côte d'Ivoire and recently concluded elections in Gabon; and
  • Other issues of multilateral interest including the comprehensive reform of the United Nations.

Pursuant to the strengthening of relations between both countries, the following agreements are expected to be signed on conclusion of discussions between Presidents Mbeki and Nguesso:

  • Trade Agreement;
  • Agreement on the Protection and Reciprocal Promotion of Investments;
  • Agreement on Merchant Shipping and Other Maritime Transport Related Matters;
  • Agreement on Health Matters;
  • Protocol to the General Cooperation Agreement on Regular Diplomatic Consultation; and
  • A Letter of Intent on Cooperation in the Fields of Arts and Culture.

President Thabo Mbeki will include his visit to Congo-Brazzaville on Thursday, 1 December 2005 whereupon he will travel to Bamako, Mali ahead of the Franco-Africa Summit scheduled for Friday - Saturday, 2-3 December 2005.

Economic relations

A steady increase in trade between South Africa and the Republic of Congo, was realised between 2000 and 2003.

SA exports to Republic of Congo

YearSA exports to Republic of Congo
2000R178 172 000
2001R256 300 000
2002 R346 727 000
2003 R281 139 000
2004 R262 220 000

Imports from Republic of Congo

YearImports from Republic of Congo
2000R 4 765 000
2001R 13 470 000
2002 R 31 250 000
2003R140 461 000
2004R 86 386 000

(Source: DTI: 2004)

South African companies currently involved in the Republic of Congo include Spoornet, Protea Hotels, Vodacom and Executive Aerospace.

The South African Ambassador in Brazzaville was recently requested by a South African aviation company, Sub-Sahara (Pty) Ltd, to assist them to obtain a license to operate a regional airline on routes between Johannesburg and Central and West Africa. Engagement with Congolese authorities have culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Congolese partners in terms of which a feasibility study will be carried out by both would-be partners to determine the viability of a chartered and scheduled flight covering Johannesburg-Brazzaville-Libreville-West Africa and other internal routes in Central Africa.

A delegation of Mvelaphanda Holdings and allied groupings visited Brazzaville from 25 to 27 October 2005. The purpose of the visit was to explore investment possibilities in mining and infrastructure development. During a meeting with President Sassou-Nguesso, the latter made firm offers to the group to drill for oil in two offshore blocks in the Congo Basin. The group is also expected to engage in infrastructure development such as road and housing construction and hotels to promote tourism. The group made a firm commitment to open operational headquarters in Brazzaville soon.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Tshwane
0001

29 November 2005

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