President Mbeki to hold Discussions with French Prime Minister
Dominique De Villepin in Pretoria
Pretoria - South African President Thabo
Mbeki is scheduled to hold political and economic discussions with French Prime
Minister Dominique de Villepin at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on Friday
1 December 2006. Prime Minister de Villepin is expected to arrive in South Africa
later today Thursday 30 November 2006.
President Mbeki will hold discussions
with Prime Minister de Villepin within the context of South Africa's priority
to promote North-South co-operation with a view to pushing back the frontiers
of poverty and underdevelopment.
The meeting between President Mbeki and
Prime Minister de Villepin will be preceded by a working luncheon between Minister
of Foreign Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma with Prime Minister de Villepin as
part of preparations for the bilateral meeting between President Mbeki and Prime
Minister de Villepin.
Issues on the agenda of discussions between President
Mbeki and Prime Minister de Villepin are expected to include, among others:
status of bilateral political and economic relations between both countries;
relating to Africa, in particular on EU and G8 programmes relating to the African
Union and Nepad, conflict resolution and peace-building initiatives;
- North-South cooperation including debt relief, the comprehensive
reform of the UN and progress in the Financing for Development initiative; and
Middle East Peace Process.
While in South Africa Prime Minister de
Villepin will deliver an open address to the University of Witwatersrand and visit
Prime Minister de Villepin is expected to depart from South Africa
on Saturday 2 December 2006.
France ranks amongst
South Africa's top ten trading partners. South African exports to France are dominated
by machinery; mineral and base metal products; vegetable products; chemical and
allied industry products; and textile and textile articles.
top five imports from France consist mainly of vehicles, aircraft (airbus), vessel
and associated transport; machinery and mechanical appliances and electrical equipment;
products of chemical or allied industries; plastics and rubber articles; and optical,
photographic and cinematographic equipment.
From January to June 2006, total
trade between South Africa and France amounted to R12, 5 billion, with a trade
surplus of R5,8 billion in favour of France. In 2005, total trade amounted to
R 22 billion with a trade surplus of R 13 billion in favour of France. Bilateral
trade in 2004 was R24 billion and R20 billion in 2003.
to South Africa
- French ODA to South Africa from 1995-2005 amounted
to R1.6 billion. Sectors that benefited from the ODA included DBSA, Education,
SAPS, National Treasury and Provincial and Local Government.
11 September 2006, Deputy Minister Moleketi and the French Deputy Minister for
Cooperation signed the Partnership Framework Document for France's ODA assistance
to South Africa for the period 2006 to 2010 consisting of a package of more than
R3,4 billion, of which 89% will be in loans and 11% as ODA.
and South Africa have an agreement to promote "privileged economic relations"
between the two countries. New French companies in South Africa have trebled over
the past years and there are now 150 plus established French companies in South
French investments in South Africa, including direct, portfolio
and other investments, for the period including 31 December 2004 amounted to R4,
966b. The Largest of which was the purchase of Blue Circle by Lafarge SA worth
R1.5 billion in 1998.
Other French Investments in South Africa include:
Danone-Clover, Mozal, Michelin tyres, Essilor, SIIAF, Alcatel, Boutgues Group,
RATP Development, Total, Renault, Peugeot, Thompson CSF, Air Liquide. The French
company Bouygues Travaux Publics, and the French railway and bus company RATP
Development are part of the Bombela consortium that won the bid for the Gautrain.
and Co-operation Initiatives
- The South Africa-France Forum for
Political Dialogue (established in 1997) convenes on an annual basis. This forum
is co-chaired by Director-General of the DFA and the Secretary-General of the
French Foreign Ministry. The last meeting took place June 2005 in Pretoria while
the next meeting is scheduled for 7 December 2006 in Paris.
- Other institutional
mechanisms facilitated through partner departments include the Joint Committee
on Trade and Industry, and the Joint Defence Committee.
- The Department
of Science and Technology is currently negotiating an agreement with their French
counterparts to establish a Science and Technology Committee.
- The Declaration
of Intent on Co-operation on French Language Training between the Department of
Foreign Affairs and the French Embassy was finalised in July 2005. Progress on
this initiative has been very promising and the programme and discussions are
underway to expand the programme to include elements such as translations, interpretation,
advanced French and standards setting.
- The Picasso Art Exhibition held
in February and March 2006 at the Standard Bank Museum in Johannesburg brought
together 70 original Picasso art works to Africa. Several South African artists
also showcased their artwork at the exhibition.
- Earlier this year, Eskom
obtained a generator from Electricite de France (EDF) following the breakdown
of the generator at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station.
Issued by Ronnie
Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
30 November 2006