President Jacob Zuma to pay a State Visit to France from 2 to 3 March 2011

The President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma, will undertake a State Visit to France from 2 to 3 March 2011 at the invitation of the President of the French Republic, Mr Nicolas Sarkozy.

The visit takes place within the context of deepening bilateral political and economic relations with France in support of South Africa’s five national priorities and foreign policy objectives, the consolidation and promotion of the African Agenda, strengthening North-South cooperation and enhancing the role of Africa and the developing world in general in matters of global governance.

President Zuma will have consultations with the President of the French Republic on deepening and strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries, on developments on the continent of Africa and taking the African Agenda forward, as well as on global and international issues of mutual interest.  France’s Presidency of the G20 and South Africa’s hosting of CoP17 are likely to feature high on the agenda of the two Heads of State.

President Zuma will also have consultations with the French Prime Minister, Mr Francois Fillon. Other major meetings include those with the President of the French Senate, the President of the National Assembly and the Mayor of Paris.

A major objective of the visit is to strengthen trade and investment ties with France, and to address the challenge of the significant trade deficit that exists. President Zuma will therefore deliver the opening address at the South Africa-France Business Forum that will take place on 3 March, with the participation of a significant business delegation from South Africa.

The President will also participate in a remembrance ceremony for Ms Dulcie September, the ANC Representative in France at the time, who was brutally murdered in Paris on 29 March 1988 by persons as yet unknown.

Agreements to be signed during the visit include the New Partnership Framework Document for 2011 to 2013 (the framework for bilateral development cooperation between South Africa and France) according to which the French Development Agency (AFD) will make available approximately 1 billion Euro over three years, through various financial mechanisms.  A number of AFD funding agreements with South African state-owned enterprises are also expected to be signed.

As a concrete step to widen and deepen bilateral consultations on issues of policy and strategic importance a new Forum for Economic Dialogue will be launched during the State Visit to complement the existing Forum for Political Dialogue.

President Zuma will be supported by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Rob Davies, the Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan, the Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, and the Minister of Energy, Ms Dipuo Peters.  In addition to relevant senior officials, the President will also be supported by a strong business delegation.


South Africa and France enjoy warm and close relations in a wide variety of fields. In 2009 France was South Africa’s 19th biggest export market with exports worth R6,173bn while France was South Africa’s 6th biggest supplier with imports of R17,022bn.  South Africa’s exports do not correspond to the relative size of the French economy in the world and significant potential exists in this regard.

Cooperation between the two countries also extends to global issues of mutual interest. France will chair both the G8 and the G20 during 2011, with the G8 Summit taking place in Deauville on 26 and 27 May and the G20 Summit in Cannes on 3 and 4 November.

For further information please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974.


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24 February 2011

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