President Zuma to host President François Hollande on a two days State Visit

10 October 2013

The President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma will receive his French counterpart, His Excellency François Hollande who will be in South Africa on a two days State Visit scheduled for 14-15 October 2013 in Pretoria.

President Hollande’s visit to South Africa is his first as Socialist Party Leader and President of France.  Since his election, President Hollande has met with President Zuma on several occasions on the margins of multilateral meetings; and exchanged telephone calls reflecting on pertinent bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual concern.

France is South Africa’s strategic partner. Bilateral relations between the two countries are coordinated through the annual Forum for Political Dialogue (FPD), co-chaired by the respective Directors-General of International Relations and Cooperation. The last session of the FPD took place on 26 June 2013 in Paris and reflected on bilateral, regional and global developments. Similarly, the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation engage regularly.

Cooperation between the two countries cuts across a broad spectrum of areas. There is on-going and deepening collaboration in such areas as defence, development cooperation, science and technology, arts and culture, energy and agriculture. France is a key development partner for South Africa. During President Zuma’s State Visit to France in March 2011, the New Framework Partnership Agreement 2011–2013, was signed to the value of R10 billion that comprises loans and aid.

France is South Africa’s third largest trading and investment partner within the European Union. A number of French public and private companies have made significant investments in South Africa. Between the period 2004-2012 investments worth R15 billion by French companies were recorded, creating significant job opportunities.  A highlight of the visit is the South Africa-France Business Forum that will afford the respective business communities an opportunity to take advantage of the growing bilateral economic relations and to explore further opportunities.

Tourism flows from France to South Africa continue to grow. In 2012, 122 000 French tourists visited South Africa, representing a 16% increase compared to the previous year’s figure. The South Africa–France Season Seasons of Culture, which is currently on-going in France present further prospects for growth in the tourism sector.

The Seasons of Culture project is aimed at strengthening the political, cultural and economic ties between the two countries that covers a wide range of fields, including culture, trade and investment, science and technology, and tourism. The French Season was held in South Africa from June to November 2012. The South African Season in France was launched in May 2013 in Paris and ends in December 2013.

During the course of the Visit a number of agreements and declarations of intent will be signed in different areas of cooperation, signalling expansion in the bilateral relationship. The signing of these agreements will spur cooperation in such areas energy, maritime, agriculture, transport infrastructure.

The overall of objective of the State Visit represents the vision of the leaders of South Africa and France to further harness the enormous potential available for further strengthening and consolidating this strategic partnership in identified areas of bilateral undertakings.

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

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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