President Thabo Mbeki to host Venezuelan President on Historic State Visit

Pretoria – South African President Thabo Mbeki will on Tuesday 2 September 2008 host the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for bilateral political, economic and trade discussions at the Union Buildings during his first State Visit to South Africa scheduled from Tuesday – Wednesday 2-3 September 2008.

President Thabo Mbeki will host President Chavez for discussions within the context of South Africa’s priority to consolidate relations with Latin America with a view to fastracking the developmental agenda of the South.

It is South Africa’s declared intention to expand its relations with Venezuela in particular and Latin America and the Caribbean in general.

Bilateral relations between the two countries will be reviewed against this background. Discussions would focus on opportunities that exist in the areas of Energy, Mining, Trade and the Armament Industry. In addition, areas for possible future engagements with Venezuela in the fields of Agriculture and Public Works would be explored.

Accordingly, issues on the agenda of discussions between Presidents Mbeki and Chavez on Tuesday 2 September 2008 are expected to include, among others:

  • The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries and indeed between SACU and Mercosaur;
  • The strengthening and consolidation of South-South relations through, among others, co-operation in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the G77 + China fora;
  • A briefing on developments in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean including conflict resolution and peacekeeping in Africa;
  • Preparations for the forthcoming inaugural Summit of the African Diaspora which South Africa has been mandated by the African Union to host in October this year;
  • The 2nd Africa-South American Community of Nations Summit to be hosted by Venezuela from 24 to 29 November 2008 – this follows that hosted in Addis Ababa in November 2006; and
  • Other issues of mutual interest including the comprehensive reform of the United Nations Security Council and the global financial architecture.

Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Hugo Chavez will, on conclusion of discussions sign the Framework Agreement on Cooperation between South Africa and Venezuela. In addition, the respective Ministers of Minerals and Energy of South Africa and the Minister of Energy and Petroleum of Venezuela will sign an Energy Cooperation Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Cooperation.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The July 2008 visit by the Minister of Minerals and Energy to Venezuela paved the way for closer energy cooperation with that country with Venezuela keen to explore South Africa’s gas-to-liquid technology.

Venezuela has one of the largest oil reserves in the world and developing commercial relations in this sector could provide alternative sources of energy to South Africa. 

Trade statistics

South African Rand in millions (DTI) June 2007:

SA EXPORTS                     

2007                                     2006              2005              2004                          
275,852                                  156,509          107,002          105,216         
SA IMPORTS                      

2007                                      2006             2005               2004              
530,085                                  325,200          20,920             29,033                       

The major export products were machinery and mechanical appliances, base metals and chemicals.

South Africa has seen a dramatic increase in imports over the same three-year period, mainly covering plastic and rubber imports from Venezuela.

President Chavez is scheduled to depart South Africa on Wednesday 3 September.

Media Programme for Incoming Venezuela State Visit, Monday 01 – Wednesday 03 September 2008

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 9904853

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs

Private Bag X152

31 August 2008


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